How an innocent person pleads guilty to murder

"Just before dawn, at 5:22, Sterling made a videotaped statement. Onscreen for just over twenty minutes, Sterling can be seen speaking in a slow, defeated monotone, the ash of his cigarette burning to the nub."
It seems easy enough: If a person confesses to a crime, then they're guilty.

But it's not always true. Many innocent people have confessed to crimes they did not commit. How does that happen? Read the story of Frank Sterling, who served 18 years in prison for the murder of Viola Manville, a murder he didn’t commit.
Sterling was trembling now, verging on hysteria. He had been in the small room for close to eight hours. Crough came in again at 2:40 a.m. and started rubbing Sterling’s back. “I was whispering,” Crough said later, “simply that we would not dislike him, that we were here for him, we understood—we felt he should tell the truth to get it off his chest.” Crough’s partner, Thomas Vasile, held Sterling’s other hand, and the two detectives huddled around him for a long time, gently reassuring him. Finally, according to the police report, Sterling blurted out, “I did it … I need help.”
Short overview of the original case:

New York Magazine>>
The Innocence Project>>

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