ID# A412224
Facility Name ODRC North Central CI Complex
Facility Email Other
Other Facility Email GTL


Address 670 Marion-Williamsport Road
City Marion
State Ohio
Zip 43302
Dennis Salerno Marion, Ohio. ODRC North Central CI Complex Member since: 09/28/2023
Dennis Michael "Sal" Salerno asks for help challenging a wrongful first degree murder conviction from Ingham county, Michigan, where he was sentenced to life without parole. Sal also asks for help to prepare and file a request for commutation of sentence. Along with information provided here, we ask you to visit Sal had been kicked out of his mother's house before he turned 16 and had to find creative ways to find money and eat at times. Other times, he bounced from uncle to Grandmother. He knew what it was like to be hurt from the variety of abuses by his mother and various stepfathers, so he did not want to cause anyone any pain nor physical harm. His choice was nonviolent nonconfrontational; in his teens through early twenties, Sal passed bad checks and forged names for credit card purchases. While serving a sentence in an Ohio prison for forgery, Sal worked in the dining hall; he and another man were clerks in the office. While serving that sentence, he decided on a change in his life; he signed up for college classes within the prison. When released, he transferred credits to a college in Ohio to continue studies. Sal met and married a woman named Michelle, while at that college. Sal's mother-in-law found out about his forgery convictions, and she confronted Michelle and Sal about it. From that point forward, Michelle and Sal argued, usually after she spoke with or returned from visiting her mother, and they even attempted divorce once, but none of their issues were life changing and they always reconciled. They moved to East Lansing, Michigan so Sal could continue undergraduate study, and Michelle could attend graduate school. At the same time, the man Sal worked with in prison, and whose home he left about 8 years prior, hired a private investigator and was given addresses for where they lived while attending college in Ohio. The man sent letters to the address, which were forwarded to the new East Lansing address, at a time when Sal was not there because he and Michelle were arguing. Michelle received the letter, and she contacted him. Along with hiring a private detective to find Sal, the man, Larry McClanahan, had his son looking through phone books in different states while on trucking runs, his phone bill shows he called telephone information to gain phone numbers for Salerno families in numerous states, he called those numbers, McClanahan had maps and notes for the area and freeway exit where they attended college in Ohio, and he stayed on a hotel there when Michelle was in town for her birthday. Michelle saw Sal on the Michigan state campus and gave him a phone number, then told him Larry McClanahan needed to talk with him. Sal said she should stay away from McClanahan, but Michelle said they had met once and were to meet again. Sal called the number, and eventually met with him at a truck stop in Ohio. While there, McClanahan handed Sal Michelle's hat, and told him it belonged to someone he once knew, and told Sal he owed him. Sal turned to leave and McClanahan cut him on the elbow. McClanahan backed into the shower and wanted to assault Sal but Sal slammed the shower door and McClanahan dropped the knife. They both went for it, and both had hold of it. Sal pushed and pushed, to get McClanahan away from him, and he fell away. Much later, Sal remembers looking for Michelle. A few days later, while Sal was doing laundry at a laundromat, across from campus, he was arrested. He did not have a driver's license so he gave the name of his cousin; Sal was arrested for disorderly conduct for lying to an officer, and was held in the city jail. He was charged with misdemeanor fraud for forging bottle return UPC's, and then Ohio indicted him for the death of McClanahan. For the death of McClanahan, and he was transferred to the Wood County, Ohio jail. While being held in Wood county, Sal was held in a two man area with Thomas J. Huff. Huff was waiting to be transferred to prison for Fraud. He had been offering information on someone and was housed with Sal for eight days, before being transferred to Ohio prison reception. Once there, Huff sent letters to prosecutors stating he would testify against Sal if they would release him from prison. Sal was given a new attorney because the assigned public defender also represented Huff, which created a conflict of interest. The new attorneys were abusive and eventually Sal entered a plea to McLanahan's death, and was sentenced to serve 22 years to life in Ohio. Later, Michigan charged Sal with the murder of his wife, Michelle. Huff was released from prison the morning after he testified. It is important to note that nothing Huff testified to was correct. Huff claimed Michelle was thrown in the water, with blocks tied to her feet, at exit 5 off I 75 in Michigan, and that Sal drove around for hours with her in the trunk of his car. The testimony of the Forensic Pathologist shows there were no blocks tied to Michelle, and she was not in the water. Further, Sal had a mini-van which did not have a trunk, and Michelle drove a Reliant K station wagon, which also has no trunk. Dennis Michael "Sal" Salerno was convicted at a bench trial of first degree/Open murder, in Ingham county, Michigan, (case no.02-217-FC, People v. Salerno). At the time of trial, no-one could answer the question of why the McClanahans sought Sal after 8 years of no communication. After trial, the case of Howard v. ODRC become available (2003-Ohio-3002). Information in that court decision, combined with known facts, shows that, while the McClanahans were looking for Sal, they placed a contract hit on Mr. Howard. Like Sal, Howard stayed at the McClanahan home. McLanahan's wfe, Pam, contacted men at the prison where Howard was housed, and he was stabbed. These facts were not available at time of trial and only became available years after the unreported Howard case was decided. Facts in the Howard case also show Pan was untruthful when talking with detectives about Sal, and it seems the McClanahans were targeting people who had stayed in their home. There was no direct evidence; Only what is called circumstantial evidence. When looking at the case, anyone can plainly see: There was no eyewitness; There is no DNA; There is no evidence of where or when the death occurred; The case is wholly circumstantial; A jailhouse informant testified to be released. Soil evidence is now directly refuted by new evidence. The testimony of a soil scientist claimed soil at trial was unique and was therefore evidence of murder; however, more than a decade later, someone bought a bag of random soil at a store in southern Ohio and had it tested for presence of certain elements. The results were nearly identical to those from the trial soil. Further, there was testimony about a bus ticket bought in Detroit, Michigan. That bus had a stop in Toledo, Ohio before arriving in Detroit. As a Greyhound employee testified, the ticket was purchased at the Detroit ticket counter for travel from Detroit to East Lansing. There is no evidence of Sal being in Toledo, nor of him boarding the bus in Toledo. No-one boards a Greyhound bus without a ticket. Sal was a gambler and went to many casinos to play blackjack. A few people have used a computer to look up travel time, and could not see his there was enough time to murder someone, travel with a dead body and then bury it within any timeframe around known events, such as times Sal was shown to be at different casinos, including in Canada. Further, there were reels of undeveloped film in a storage shed, and was not developed until time of trial. A point everyone missed is you cannot look at a photograph if it does not exist; film must be developed first. Nothing on the film had anything to do with murder. Sal has tried to be pleasant, thoughtful, and patient over the past 23 1/2 years. He has written self-help booklets for prisoners on many subjects, is and has been involved with many community service projects, has taught people to paint and draw, created many murals and patient brings around the facilities created numerous programs and activities, and takes time to help others. He tries to stay positive. Along with new soil evidence and missing soil evidence from trial, there’s a man who knows states witness Huff, who is willing to make an affidavit stating, Huff told people in town that he made up his story so they would release him from prison. In 2016, someone trying to help, hired an agency to file a commutation for the Michigan sentence of life without parole. That agency prepared something and sent it to meal for signature, but apparently did not file it; after waiting more than five years for a decision, people called the Governor's office and were told nothing was in the system for it. That agency no longer answers the phone and is unreachable. If you are willing to help this man prepare and file a commutation request to reduce the sentence, or are willing to help with a fresh challenge to the conviction, request public records that may show withheld evidence, or would like to help in some other way, please send a message to: or Thank you for reading this profile. We look forward to working with you.

Basic Information

Gender Male
Seeking Legal, Professional

Human Aspects

Criminal Record

Awaiting Trial No
Lifer Yes
Death Row No
Convicted of Murder
Length of Sentence Over 25 years

Are you over 18+ ?


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