There’s an article in today’s Washington Post where the state attorney for the state of Maryland announced that Maryland’s Conviction Integrity Unit has determined that three teenagers who have been in prison for 36 years are actually innocent of a murder. And the states attorney will be filing for a writ of actual innocence today, and they are expected to be released from prison very soon.
The article is pretty long, but holy crap the stuff that the government withheld from the defense. Including witness statements of people who identified someone else as the shooter, and witnesses who picked out someone else from the photo lineups.
Police reports revealed that numerous witnesses told Baltimore investigators that Michael Willis, then 18, was the shooter, prosecutors now say. One student identified him immediately, one saw him run and discard a handgun as police pulled up to Harlem Park Junior High School, one heard him confess to the shooting, and one saw him wearing Duckett’s Georgetown jacket that night.
But police, including homicide detective Donald Kincaid, focused on Chestnut and Watkins, then 16, and Stewart, then 17, the Conviction Integrity Unit concluded. The three had skipped high school that morning and were goofing around in the hallways and classrooms of Harlem Park, visiting siblings and chatting with former teachers. Teachers and students saw them — and the teens admitted they’d been there. A Georgetown University jacket was later found in Chestnut’s bedroom.
The teens were kicked out around 12:45 p.m. by a security guard who testified at trial he lectured the boys about staying in school, watched them walk up the street away from the school, and then locked the school doors well before the 1:15 p.m. shooting of Duckett. Prosecutors said the trio must have sneaked back in.
Defense attorneys pressed for evidence that cast doubt on their clients’ guilt. In 1984, then-Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Shoup told the court the state had no such reports, despite the fact there were police documents showing that the trial witnesses had twice failed to identify the three defendants in photo lineups as well as statements implicating Willis. A judge sealed the reports. Then, when Chestnut made a public records request to the Maryland attorney general last year, the office turned them over.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/crime-la ... Fstory-ans