During the trial, Edwin Gilkes told jurors that Ivan was involved with some Russians in another murder outside a recreation center in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The prosecutor relied on this testimony in arguing that Ivan was too dangerous to live, because he could “dial up” another hired murder from prison at any time. The argument worked. Jurors feared for their own safety, and quickly sentenced Ivan to death.
After Ivan was sent to death row, investigation revealed that the murder outside the recreation center in Ephrata—which had convinced jurors to sentence Ivan to death—had never even happened. No murder had ever occurred outside the recreation center in Ephrata. Gilkes later admitted he had lied about Ivan’s involvement in the murder.