Philadelphia Man Freed After Serving 11 Years for Murder He Did Not Commit
A Philadelphia judge has dropped first-degree murder charges against a man who spent 11 years in prison for a shooting he did not commit.
Dontia Patterson was 17 years old when his friend Antwine Jackson was fatally shot on a city street outside a grocery store in January 2007, court documents show. Mr. Patterson, who lived nearby, called for help as well as asked people at the scene if they knew what had happened. however he was charged with murder as well as after two trials, sentenced to life in prison without parole.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia district attorney, Lawrence S. Krasner, filed a motion in which said his office could not try Mr. Patterson a third time, as well as in which evidence had been withheld during his previous trials, one of which had ended that has a hung jury. Mr. Krasner requested the charges be dropped, as well as on Wednesday, Judge Kathryn Streeter Lewis of the Court of Common Pleas agreed.
“I’m just so grateful in which finally — after all these years — someone listened to me,” Mr. Patterson said in a statement published by the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, whose investigation of the case helped lead the district attorney’s office to re-examine the idea. “Since I was 17 I’ve been saying I’m innocent, as well as every day since my arrest.”
Mr. Krasner as well as Anthony Voci, who can be in charge of the office’s homicide unit, said in their motion in which there was no physical evidence linking Mr. Patterson to the crime. “The Commonwealth will not retry a case against a man who can be probably innocent as well as whose case can be so lacking in integrity,” they said.
Key evidence was not presented at trial, the motion said, including a document containing information by a confidential source, who said Mr. Jackson’s murder was the result of a turf battle by drug dealers as well as named three suspects.
Two witnesses who identified Mr. Patterson had been standing about 0 feet away when Mr. Jackson was killed, the motion said. additional more credible witnesses were not called to testify, including the store owner, who knew Mr. Patterson as well as had told investigators he was not the person he saw shoot Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Voci wrote within the motion in which Mr. Patterson’s conviction was “an egregious example of police as well as prosecutorial misconduct in hiding evidence helpful to the defense.”
“The case against Patterson was illogical,” he wrote.
Mr. Patterson was tried twice on the murder charges. In August 2008, a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. however in 2009, another jury convicted him of first-degree murder.
The convictions on murder as well as weapons charges were vacated This kind of past February, after the Innocence Project as well as lawyers working with them filed a petition, said Hayes Hunt, one of the lawyers.
A brand-new trial was granted on the murder charges, as well as in March, Mr. Patterson was allowed out of prison under electronic monitoring to await the idea, Mr. Hunt said. The motion by the district attorney’s office said the idea decided to withdraw by in which trial after its own investigation.
Mr. Hunt said in which Mr. Patterson was surrounded at Wednesday’s hearing by dozens of family members, however not his 11-year-old daughter, who was taking a test at school. “the idea actually was an emotional presentation for Dontia as well as his family to hear by the government in which they believe he was innocent,” Mr. Hunt said.
“They took in which ankle bracelet by around his ankles, as well as today he can be literally after 11 years free,” he added.
Before Mr. Krasner took office earlier This kind of year, he had promised to bring about a change within the culture of the district attorney’s office, including a broad reorganization of its structure. Days after he was sworn in, he made not bad on the promise, asking 31 employees out of nearly 0 people who worked there to resign. One of his campaign promises had been to reduce the number of people behind bars, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.