The murders were a media spectacle, but the case is best remembered for the fact that the initial person accused was George Whitmore, Jr., a 19 year old with an IQ of less than 100. He had no criminal record, but after 2 days of questioning, he confessed. In the mean time, investigators colected further evidence that exonerated Mr. Whitmore. He also repudiated his confessions three days after he confessed alleging that he had been beaten, and had been denied counsel.
Investigators eventually determined that Mr. Whitmore had actually been in Wildwood, New Jersey at the time of the murder.
In spite of weak evidence, and evidence that directly refuted his guilt, he was eventually convicted in a related case.
Whitmore's wrongful conviction was cited by the US Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966), as an example of maltreatment by police, and failure of an accused to be advised of his constitutional rights. It also was used by the NY Legislature to restrict and eventually eliminate the death penalty in NY State.