The Case

willful-blindness-front-cover-onlyCommonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles J. “Zeke” Goldblum

On the evening of Sunday, February 9, 1976, George Wilhelm was brutally murdered on the top deck of the Smithfield/Forbes parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh. He had been slashed and stabbed 23 times and then dumped over the side of the garage.

But instead of falling 8 stories, he landed on the roof of a walkway bridge from the garage to the former Gimbels Department Store and the Duquesne Club. When a police officer arrived and reached Wilhelm, he was still alive. “Clarence. Clarence Miller did this to me,” Wilhelm said in his dying declaration.

Taken into custody the following morning, Miller, 38, a minor city hall factotum who ran errands for local Republican politicians, quickly fingered Charles “Zeke” Goldblum, 26, as Wilhelm’s actual murderer. A husband and tax lawyer working at a prominent accounting firm, a part-time lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, a dutiful citizen with no criminal record, Goldblum was the second son of the longtime Rabbi at Beth Shalom Synagogue.

Later that afternoon and based entirely on Miller’s statements, police detectives questioned Goldblum at his office. An hour later they took him into custody.

With two suspects behind bars less than 24 hours after the crime, the murder seemed to be an open and shut case. Or was it?

Over the ensuing months, Pittsburgh Police homicide detectives investigated the case’s complicated backstory, which came to involve a fraudulent land deal perpetrated on the victim, as well as the arson of a restaurant owned by Goldblum.

Nineteen months later, based entirely on Miller’s testimony and a series of questionable police and prosecutorial actions, Goldblum was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 15 to 30 years. In 1978 Miller was also convicted of Wilhelm’s killing and given the same sentence.

Miller died in prison in 2006, but Goldblum remains incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state penitentiary.

Despite numerous legal actions taken over the decades to win his release, Goldblum has served nearly 40 years for Wilhelm’s murder. His claim of innocence has since been supported by the presiding judge at his trial, the original prosecutor in the case, and several leading forensic experts.

Furthermore, although this was a headline grabbing case at the time, all four copies of the police and coroner’s case files have vanished without explanation.

We invite you to please investigate this complex and fascinating case for yourself.

You decide whether justice is being done.


Poll

Do you agree that Zeke Goldblum has already served time far in excess relative to any crime he committed?

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TV Report on Zeke’s case

It has been more than 20 years since Ken Rice filed this in-depth report on Zeke’s case. 20 years since Zeke’s judge and prosecutor both labeled his trial “A Miscarriage of Justice.”

And 20 years later, Zeke is still in prison, serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit.

 

Quotes

"Clarence . . . Clarence Miller did this to me." George Wilhelm's dying declaration to police, February 9, 1976 (T.T. 1528).

". . . Goldblum was not the individual who inflicted the fatal stab wounds on Mr. George Wilhelm." Dr. Cyril Wecht, Coroner of Allegheny County in letter to Board of Pardons, September 1, 1994; Henry Lee, Ph.D., report dated February 25, 1997.

"This is the one case in 21 years [as a judge] which seriously troubles my conscience about the result." The Honorable Donald Ziegler as quoted in Michael Bucsko, Judge Haunted by Dying Man's Last Sentences, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 5, 1995.

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