Janet Danahey

Janet Danahey

                                                                                                    August 1, 2012

Dear Neighbors,

At the request of the Greensboro News and Record, Janet's attorney Locke Clifford wrote a note to address some of the prosecution's points. Remember there was no trial and there is not a current trial.  Please read the following letter submitted to the Greensboro News and Record.  The paper printed very little of it, but we who support her feel like you should read the full statement.  It may answer some of the questions you have about her case.  In the next few days, we will post Questions and Answers to the TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT JANET DANAHEY'S CASE.  This website is managed by me, Janet's sister, with the consultation of her many supporters.  Please visit us again!

This is a quick launch webpage, so more interaction and content will be up soon.

Peace and grace,

Emily Danahey Kroeger

                                                    After you read this letter, we hope you will be inspired to help Janet. 

                                                                                 5 WAYS YOU CAN RESPOND

1. Write a note 
    NC Clemency Office 4294 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-4294, fax it to 919-715-8623, email, clemency@nc.gov

2. Read about the Seton Hall Fire
 www.nytimes.com/2006/11/16/nyregion/16seton.html article and think about the similarities and differences to Janet's case.  This case 
    is so similar to Janet's regarding intent, but how the courts, victims and defendants reacted to the tragedy was very different.

3. Sign the Petition

4. Learn about Janet's public apologies over the past ten years, her confession to the families while in prison for her part in the  
    prank that got out of control, and Janet's account of what happened by reading a portion of the official petition on the web   
    and articles archived at the at Greensboro News and Record.  We will link it here soon.

 5. Pray for the families who lost loved ones, those injured, and Janet.  Pray for healing in the Greensboro community. 


FROM: Locke Clifford
TO:  Greensboro News and Record

Janet Danahey is as fine a person as I know. She is still the sweet, kind and honest person that she was 10 years ago when she went to prison. Janet Danahey, and only Janet Danahey, knows what happened on the balcony of the apartment that night, since her friends remained in their car. With all due respect to my friend and esteemed colleague ADA Howard Neumann, his conclusions are based on assumptions untested in a court of law. Janet plead guilty on the belief that she had to do so to avoid the death penalty. She has consistently denied that her actions were motivated by malice or any intention to harm the building or any person. Janet has refused many media requests for interviews. She has intentionally done so out of respect and compassion for all those harmed by the fire.  

Not only did Janet cooperate with the police, but she cooperated with the victims. From her cell in the Guilford County Jail where she was held without bond, she reached out to all the parents of the victims, and asked that they come meet with her so she could express her sorrow tell them what happened. Does this sound like a person trying to avoid responsibility for her conduct? Of the parents,  only Mr. Harris accepted Janet’s offer. Janet was brought from the jail to Mr. Neumann’s  office in shackles and poured out her heart to Mr. Harris. She told him the truth of what happened, just as her Petition for Clemency truthfully states.  Mr. Harris has suffered the devastating loss of a child but has nevertheless come to understand that Janet’s actions were not malicious, not mean spirited, and not intentional. Mr. Harris knows the truth and he supports Janet’s Clemency Petition.

On July 25, 2006, at North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh, Janet submitted herself to be polygraphed by licensed polygraph examiner Frank Suddreth and was asked these relevant questions regarding Janet’s igniting the discarded futon on the porch of her former boyfriend Thad Johnston: 1.) Did you act or plan with anyone to deliberately set Thad’s apartment on fire? Her answer was “No”. 2.) Did you plan to burn Thad’s apartment and deliberately cause anyone physical harm?  Her answer was “No”. A review of the polygraph results by polygraph examiner Suddreth showed that she was truthful in her responses to these relevant questions. Her charts were then submitted for an independent review by polygraph examiner Don Carroll, who also concluded that Janet was telling the truth (see attached Petition for Clemency Appendix: Exhibit 5).

More than 500 people, including some of Greensboro’s most respected citizens, have lent their support to Janet’s Petition for Clemency.

Janet left a note outlining the possible pranks they would pull on Thad, which reads, “Tuna or Salmon in air vent in hood under wipers. Screwdriver Scrape off Registration Sticker on license plate wear gloves”.

In the state’s response,  Mr. Neumann inadvertently supports our petition. He shows that Janet’s entire criminal record consists of a high school prank of “pouring syrup on the victim’s vehicle and then covering it with cat litter and cereal”. This “crime” is borne of the same prank mentality that drove the pranks against Thad’s car/futon. If Thad’s car had been available, the extent of the tragedy would have been Thad having to go to the carwash, and/or get a replacement registration sticker. Janet’s joking mentality did not all of a sudden change to murderous intent when Thad’s car was not to be found. Such a notion is preposterous. 

It is easy, but disingenuous, for the state to urge the conclusion that Janet had a malicious intent when she lit the futon.  This  conclusion is based primarily on the devastation that followed. Unintended consequences are part of the daily lives of every one of us, and the state should admit that.

Janet was looking for her telephone, which she could not find, in order to call the fire department, when she and her friends heard the fire truck siren. At that point they assumed that the fire truck would arrive shortly, and the fire on the futon would be extinguished without any damage to personal property. 

Janet was overwhelmed, as anyone would have been. Her two friends did the same thing she did – went home to their parents, who lived in Greensboro. Janet’s family lived in Union County. She did not run from the law, she ran to the counsel of her family. 

Janet Danahey deeply regrets that she did not stay at the scene, help the victims, and tell the firemen what had happened. But she was in shock and in denial. She could not make the leap from her intended prank to the life threatening devastation that began to unfold before her. For this failing she has accepted a lifetime of remorse, anxiety, and sorrow, as she spends day after day, month after month, and year after year in a small prison cell. Janet, along with those in the Greensboro community who support her, wants to show that she is still the outstanding person she has always been, who can, given the opportunity, be a positive force for good. 

Locke T. Clifford

Clifford Clendenin & O’Hale

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