'Not innocent until proven guilty': Local mom says she's wrongfully convicted of burglary

Audrey Cannon, 33, kisses one of her three children. She says prosecutors used a fingerprint found on a bottle to wrongfully convict her of burglary. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said in court there's much more to the case.

A Beaverton mother told KATU she was falsely convicted of burglary.

She said prosecutors railroaded her because her fingerprint was found on a bottle inside a Northeast Portland home.

In court, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said there's much more to the case, but also admitted police failed to question several witnesses and one convicted felon.

In late March of 2015, a couple living at a home on Northeast Stanton Street left town to visit a friend. While they were gone a neighbor saw someone on their property and called 911.

"Got a gentleman walking through the back yards of some houses here on our block," the neighbor tells a dispatcher in a recording of the call.

The man in the yard, who KATU is not naming because police don't call him a suspect in this case, has a long rap sheet. It includes multiple convictions for burglary, attempted burglary, attempted robbery and theft.

The neighbor told the 911 dispatcher he didn't see the man pick up anything.

Portland police officers talked with the man and let him go, saying there's no evidence he was breaking into homes.

Three days later one of the homeowners returned to the house on Northeast Stanton Street to find it was burglarized.

Investigators said family heirlooms and other valuables including a sewing machine were stolen, with losses totaling around $55,000.

In court, Derald Sean Burns, a responding officer, admitted he never questioned the man spotted in the yard about the burglary despite repeatedly encountering him.

Burns told the defense attorney he became aware of the man's felony convictions because he'd "subsequently arrested him a couple of different times."

Officers called in a crime scene analyst who photographed several pieces of evidence.

She said she found one fingerprint of value in the home.

It was in a "smudged area," she said, on a dusty bottle of liqueur called Dubouchett Crème de Cassis, but she didn't photograph it.

She sketched it and positively identified the print as coming from Cannon's right middle finger.

A detective contacted Cannon in late October and arrested her soon after.

"I was definitely in a situation that was not innocent until proven guilty," Cannon said.

The artist and mother of three, who had no previous record of burglary or theft charges, at first denied ever going to the house.

She named eight alibi witnesses who claimed they saw her during much of the five-day period in which the burglary took place.

But police questioned none of them, saying they couldn't account for all of her time.

Officers also never checked Cannon's property for evidence.

Police said Cannon failed a polygraph and changed her story three times, claiming she once visited the location of the burglary years ago but never went inside.

"I still don't know the victim herself," Cannon said, "but I did later find out that her son was someone I was friends with for about 15 years."

In May, 10 out of 12 jurors voted to convict Cannon of burglary.

Cannon said she figured out too late how her fingerprint wound up on the bottle and that her public defender didn't tell the jury the story.

"I did fire him after the trial." Cannon said.

She claims she, the burglary victim's son, Travis Apollonius, and another friend, Cado Allred, gathered around a campfire in Estacada in 2006.

Cannon said Apollonius brought the bottle but no one wanted to drink from it.

"I did remember when he brought a bottle that he had taken from his grandfather's house," Cannon said. "Pretty sure that's the same bottle since I don't know how else my fingerprint would've ended up on it."

Both Apollonius and Allred deny her story.

"I never had this bottle. I've never seen this bottle. I don't recall it happening," Apollonius explained.

He also said Cannon has never been to his mother's house and that there's no way she could have touched the bottle before the burglary.

Cannon insists the gathering happened and that she's innocent.

She's hired a new lawyer and filed an appeal.

"This could've been anyone," Cannon said. "I most definitely was not proven to have burglarized a house. I was proven to have at one point touched a bottle."

Cannon was locked up for two days after her arrest in November. But her jail sentence in the case was suspended.

The judge instead sentenced her to three years' probation, 64 hours of community service and ordered her to pay restitution.

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