It was reported at the time that the girls wrote a letter to the judge admitting they made everything up. Is this not true? Does the letter not exist?
Since I can't sleep tonight for whatever reason:
I had somehow both forgotten that this development in the story existed and missed it searching for the relevant Observers. Obviously, I regret that. However...
Dave's feature about the case that week is unclear on if the letter is sourced from a Louisville newspaper article he mentions or someone close to the case. That week's Torch mentions the newspaper article but nothing about the letter, though it gives the date and says it was a cover story. Newspapers.com has four editions of each day's Louisville paper, and none of them have that front page article. So that's weird in and of itself.
So it appears that the letter may have only run in the Observer, and I've messaged Dave to determine its exact origin. Meanwhile, the newspaper's only reference to the girls recanting comes in the form of:
* Lawler's lawyer claiming to have an affidavit from the girls recanting but not producing it.
* The article on Lawler's plea deal saying that his lawyer called that the girls recanted. Not stating it factually or citing anyone else, much less police or prosectors.
The affidavit(s), which, if it(/they) existed, was seemingly not produced to the local paper (or not verified if it was) sounds like it could even be a different document from what Dave quoted in 1994, described as a letter to the judge. That letter is also contradicted by the police report, as it claims that the skeevy guy who Lawler blamed for everything was the outcry witness who approached police. But he wasn't, it was one of the girls' mothers. Again, that's straight from the police report. That guy was just the one who yelled about legal action whole barging into the offices at Louisville Gardens.
Again, I regret somehow missing that Observer, but now I just have way more questions and no answers yet.