An Australian man determined to prove he didn’t kill his gay lover 40 years ago turned to a popular TV show to help him prove his innocence. However, it didn’t go as he planned.
The murder took place in 1979. David Szach, then 19, had been living with his older lover, Adelaide lawyer Derrance Stevenson, 44, for three years. Sachs was found guilty of the crime.
During his trial, prosecutors used testimony provided by South Australia’s former chief forensic pathologist Colin Manock.
However, Manock had no formal qualifications as a pathologist and his evidence in other cases has been discredited.
Related: He once danced on Broadway. Now he’s behind bars after murdering his lover
Szach has always maintained his innocence. He appealed against the conviction but lost his appeal in 1980. Legal experts have said they believe Szach’s case should again be independently reviewed.
In prison, Szach declined to apply for parole as he said doing so would be an admission of his guilt. He spent 14 years in jail. Since being released he has continued to profess his innocence.
South Australia changed its law in 2013 and allowed convicted criminals to launch a second appeal if there is new evidence of a wrongful conviction.
A solicitor acting on Szach’s behalf says he intends to launch a second appeal at some point but he’s had trouble finding the funding. An application for funding assistance was turned down as Szach faces no more jail time for the crime.
Szach has developed Motor Neurone Disease and in his own words, doesn’t have “much time left.” While preparing to launch a formal appeal, he has turned to an Australian TV show, Debi Marshall Investigates, to look again at his alleged crime.
Its known Stevenson was killed at some point between June, 4-5, 1979. Other men are believed to have been at his home during this two-day period, besides Szach. Police originally charged an Italian man, alongside Szach, as an accessory to murder. However, the charges were later dropped and the man returned to Italy. No charges against anyone else were made.
Author Debi Marshall and NSW Police forensics detective Kris Illingsworth reviewed the case over 18 months. The results are revealed on the five-part series and accompanying podcast, Debi Marshall Investigates… Frozen Lies.
To Szach’s deep disappointment, in the show’s final episode, broadcast next week, they inform him on camera that they don’t believe he’s innocent. According to Adelaide Now, they go so far to tell him they believe he committed the murder and likely covered up the involvement of others.
Having served his time in prison and facing his likely death, Szach says he has no reason to lie.
“I did not kill Derrance Stevenson, I played no part whatsoever in his murder.
“That is your ending it’s not my ending,” he says as he walks off the set.
The episode is due to air in Australia Tuesday night (October, 22nd) on Foxtel.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
Interesting, this genesis of this crime in question was a crime itself……
A 41 year old man having a 16 year old boy as his “lover”??
The age of consent might have been 16, which would just make it icky, not illegal.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
You probably right, so then it is Ickylegal? :-p
Age of consent was changed from 16 to 17 in the late 70s here in SA. Also doesn’t surprise me that this happened here in Adelaide. Lots of dark stuff happened during that period that allegedly involved high profile people. Cases still haven’t been solved from then. Google “The Family Adelaide”.
The article I read above says he was 19 not 16.
“David Szach, then 19, had been living with his older lover, Adelaide lawyer Derrance Stevenson, 44, for three years”…which means he was 16 when they started living together.
Eww… A 16 yo and a 40 something are not lovers. That’s just child abuse. The only one I feel for is David Szach. He never even had a chance at life.
Death seems a little extreme for what is fairly common situation of a young man moving in with a well-heeled middle age man. There are rational ways to end the situation and for all we know the murder may have been prompted by the arrangement coming to an end. Interesting that he was released even though he refused parole. Americans don’t have that opportunity.
The only one you feel for is the murderer? Because he was 16? Which in 2019 is the most common age of consent in the U.S. states and in the Western world? Okay, cool.
Nope. Justice was served in 1978. I don’t feel sorry for a child molester.
Here in the states we have Romeo and Juliet laws where they have to be within a reasonable age themselves. Australia might have something similar. Either way it wasn’t intended for this Lawyer Creep.
Anyone know how this program might be seen (streamed, etc) in the US? Cyberignoramoose here…thnx.
It’s being aired on pay tv so not sure how you’d go about watching that but maybe you can listen to the podcast? The link is in the article.
Let’s see, Christopher Isherwood was 48, John Bachardy was 18 (he says he was 16 when they first met). They remained lovers until Isherwood’s death in 1986 – over 30 years. Longer than most straights stay together…ickylegal? Ah, Americans. The Puritan streak runs deep (although if you research the Puritans they were anything but Puritanical).
Ha. You almost sound jealous of him. These stories never fail. Really brings out the Nambla crowd.
What exactly does a relationship between two post-puberty men, regardless of the age difference (which is cringe-worthy, but not intrinsically abusive) have to do with NAMBLA (do they even still exist?), who are actual pedophiles and ephebophiles?
Dunnedin is correct, there is a huge puritanical streak in Americans…the damage done by Protestantism which takes all physical pleasure to be suspect if not downright sinful.
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