Recanted Testimony

Three men: Michael Hetrick; Edwin Gilkes; and Aleksey Safanov told jurors that Ivan had hired Hetrick and Gilkes to kill Stephanie Sipe. Now, years after the trial, Gilkes and Safanov have come forward to admit they lied when they claimed that Ivan was involved in the murder, and that Ivan is innocent.

Each of the three men testified against Ivan in return for a favorable deal in his own case. Hetrick, the actual killer, avoided a death sentence in exchange for his testimony. Gilkes, who also was scared of ending up on death row himself, was given a 15-year prison sentence in return for testifying against Ivan. And Safanov was told the prosecutor could help him to obtain a U.S. visa—allowing him to stay in the country with his family despite his federal gun convictions—in return for saying Ivan hired the murderer.

The only evidence remaining against Ivan is the testimony of Hetrick, the man who killed Stephanie Sipe. Hetrick has stuck to the story first fed to him by police in the face of additional threats from the Commonwealth that he could face the death penalty again if his story changes.