I have never heard of a white person who was wrongly accused of a crime and forced to serve a very long time in prison, but it seems as though we have many African Americans in that position. Willie Green, 56, was wrongly accused of a crime and has been freed after serving nearly 25 years. He was imprisoned for the execution-style murder of a Los Angeles woman and he insisted that he did not commit the crime, but no one believed because “conventional wisdom” states that it is always the black person who commits the crime. What a shame. Green said he “would never ponder harming anyone” after working for civil rights in Mississippi.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus–Read the judge’s ruling (PDF)
–set Green free after ruling that the prosecution’s star witness, Willie Finley, lied to a jury during key portions of his original testimony. Finley recently recanted his story.
Green, who earned a college degree while at California’s San Quentin State Prison, said he was “humbled” by his release. “Today is a glorious day,” he said. “It’s a great day. I never gave up on this day. I knew one day this day would come. “I never asked for mercy. I only asked for justice to be served, and it was served today.” Green had been serving 33 years to life for the murder, burglary and robbery of Denise “Dee Dee” Walker, 25, at a Los Angeles
crack house in 1983.
Walker was killed August 9, 1983. According to court documents, the single mother had been preparing crack cocaine in Finley’s kitchen when a man dragged Finley inside the home after pistol-whipping him on a sidewalk. Within moments, a second intruder entered a back door of the apartment with a sawed-off shotgun. Finley testified that the newcomer beat him again with the shotgun. After stealing money from a bedroom, the second intruder returned to the kitchen, exchanged weapons with his accomplice and left, according to court documents.
Moments later, Finley testified, he heard the first suspect yell to Walker, “you’re the only one who knows me,” followed by multiple shotgun blasts. But instead of calling for help as Walker lay dying with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, Finley scoured his house for drugs the gunmen missed, documents state. According to court documents, the case appeared stalled until Walker’s mother told police that her daughter had been the victim of an assault and robbery a year earlier. Two men had been arrested in that case: Willie Green and his cousin, who was Walker’s companion at the time. Both men pleaded guilty to grand theft of a television set. On the night of Walker’s murder, Green’s cousin was in prison.
Green, who had briefly lived at Walker’s apartment a year earlier, told police he was in the San Fernando Valley at the time of the murder. But he also had no one to corroborate his alibi.Detectives interviewed Finley again in jail, showing him additional photographs of possible suspects, this time including Green. By that time, Finley had been informed about Green’s prior encounter with Walker and tentatively identified him as the second intruder, according to court documents.
In his ruling Thursday, Marcus said the relationship between Walker and Green probably played a significant role in the jury’s decision to convict. Finley now says it was the primary reason he identified Green in the photo lineup. Marcus noted that Finley had failed to reveal that he suffered from hemophilia and that his vision had been impaired after the two beatings on the day of the killing. Marcus also said that Finley lied when he said he was not under the influence of cocaine at the time of the murder or when he was testifying.
All too often we hear cases of innocent black men being accused and charged for crimes they did not commit. We now have Alton Logan of Chicago in a similar predicament and what is more disturbing in his situation is the fact that the guilty party’s lawyer knew that this man was being imprisoned wrongfully and because of attorney-client privilege he chose to say nothing. It is a sad commentary when the scales are tipped towards a conviction for blacks than any other race. The real shame is that oftentimes these people wrongly accused do not have the financial resources to hire a good attorney, so there is no one good to plead their case. How do you recapture nearly 25 years? No amount of money from the government can give him back those lost years, but I guess he can aver that today is the first day of the rest of his life. Just my thoughts, you be the judge…..