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Thread: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/07/12/ex....ap/index.html

    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Citing grave concerns that Missouri executed an innocent man, a coalition that includes a congressman, high-profile lawyers and even the victim's family pointed to evidence Tuesday that they said could clear Larry Griffin's name.

    Prosecutors have decided to reopen the case of Griffin, who was convicted in 1981 in the murder of Quintin Moss, a 19-year-old drug dealer who was shot to death. Griffin maintained his innocence to the end, but was put to death in 1995.

    Now, many people, including some members of Moss' family, believe him.

    "What I have heard recently is very troubling and leads me to believe an innocent man was executed for this murder, while the real killers have not been brought to justice," said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, who spoke at a news conference Tuesday with other supporters of Griffin.

    The news conference followed a report compiled by a University of Michigan Law School professor who discovered new information on the case in the last year. The report suggests that:

    # The first police officer at the scene of the 1980 shooting, Michael Ruggeri, now says that the story told by the supposed eyewitness was false, even though Ruggeri's own testimony at trial supported what the witness said.

    # A second victim of the shooting, Wallace Conners, has said he was never contacted by the defense or the prosecution. Conners, now 52, who was wounded in the attack, said the supposed eyewitness was not present at the shooting.

    "I tell all you all, Larry Griffin did not commit this crime," Conners told reporters. "Larry Griffin definitely wasn't in the car."
    Original prosecutor: Testimony about revenge

    The report, by Michigan professor Sam Gross, called into question the credibility of the only person who testified at the trial that he saw the murder. Robert Fitzgerald later testified at an organized crime murder trial and in other prosecutions, and "judging from news coverage, he developed a reputation as a snitch who couldn't produce convictions," Gross' report said. Fitzgerald died last year.

    There was no DNA evidence in the case, prosecutor Jennifer Joyce said.

    But Gordon Ankney, the original prosecutor who is now in private practice, believes Griffin was the killer.

    "I believe the jury did the right thing, and nothing's happened that's led me to believe otherwise," Ankney said.

    Ankney said the new information discounts several facts from the case. He said an off-duty officer saw Griffin get in the car used in the drive-by shooting the day of the murder. He said the murder weapon was found in the car and that Conners told police twice he wouldn't be able to identify who shot him.

    He also pointed out there was testimony that Griffin killed Moss in revenge for the slaying of one of Griffin's brothers, Dennis. Moss had been questioned by police in that shooting, but not charged.

    Moss' older brother, Walter Moss, is among those supporting a reinvestigation of the case.

    "I myself am not here to accuse, blame or show anger. It's been 25 years since my brother was murdered and 10 years since Larry Griffin was put to death for that murder," Walter Moss said.

    John Fougere, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said he was unaware of any previous situation where a Missouri case was reopened after an execution.
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    Designated Threadkiller LincolnparkRed's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/07/12/ex....ap/index.html

    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Citing grave concerns that Missouri executed an innocent man, a coalition that includes a congressman, high-profile lawyers and even the victim's family pointed to evidence Tuesday that they said could clear Larry Griffin's name.

    Prosecutors have decided to reopen the case of Griffin, who was convicted in 1981 in the murder of Quintin Moss, a 19-year-old drug dealer who was shot to death. Griffin maintained his innocence to the end, but was put to death in 1995.

    Now, many people, including some members of Moss' family, believe him.

    "What I have heard recently is very troubling and leads me to believe an innocent man was executed for this murder, while the real killers have not been brought to justice," said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, who spoke at a news conference Tuesday with other supporters of Griffin.

    The news conference followed a report compiled by a University of Michigan Law School professor who discovered new information on the case in the last year. The report suggests that:

    # The first police officer at the scene of the 1980 shooting, Michael Ruggeri, now says that the story told by the supposed eyewitness was false, even though Ruggeri's own testimony at trial supported what the witness said.

    # A second victim of the shooting, Wallace Conners, has said he was never contacted by the defense or the prosecution. Conners, now 52, who was wounded in the attack, said the supposed eyewitness was not present at the shooting.

    "I tell all you all, Larry Griffin did not commit this crime," Conners told reporters. "Larry Griffin definitely wasn't in the car."
    Original prosecutor: Testimony about revenge

    The report, by Michigan professor Sam Gross, called into question the credibility of the only person who testified at the trial that he saw the murder. Robert Fitzgerald later testified at an organized crime murder trial and in other prosecutions, and "judging from news coverage, he developed a reputation as a snitch who couldn't produce convictions," Gross' report said. Fitzgerald died last year.

    There was no DNA evidence in the case, prosecutor Jennifer Joyce said.

    But Gordon Ankney, the original prosecutor who is now in private practice, believes Griffin was the killer.

    "I believe the jury did the right thing, and nothing's happened that's led me to believe otherwise," Ankney said.

    Ankney said the new information discounts several facts from the case. He said an off-duty officer saw Griffin get in the car used in the drive-by shooting the day of the murder. He said the murder weapon was found in the car and that Conners told police twice he wouldn't be able to identify who shot him.

    He also pointed out there was testimony that Griffin killed Moss in revenge for the slaying of one of Griffin's brothers, Dennis. Moss had been questioned by police in that shooting, but not charged.

    Moss' older brother, Walter Moss, is among those supporting a reinvestigation of the case.

    "I myself am not here to accuse, blame or show anger. It's been 25 years since my brother was murdered and 10 years since Larry Griffin was put to death for that murder," Walter Moss said.

    John Fougere, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said he was unaware of any previous situation where a Missouri case was reopened after an execution.
    I think that this becomes a complete waste of time when the accused has been dead for 10 years. If you want to fight convictions you should do it for people that have a chance at benefitting from a release from prison. unfortnunately I imagine hundreds of people have been executed for crimes they didn't commit and it is sad but it happens.
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    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed
    I think that this becomes a complete waste of time when the accused has been dead for 10 years. If you want to fight convictions you should do it for people that have a chance at benefitting from a release from prison. unfortnunately I imagine hundreds of people have been executed for crimes they didn't commit and it is sad but it happens.
    What if your father or other family member was executed for a crime he did not commit? Would you feel the same way? Or would you want to clear the "family" name and the stigma from society that is associated with a murderer in the family.

    Sorry, "but it happens" isn't good enough in my opinion.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed
    I think that this becomes a complete waste of time when the accused has been dead for 10 years. If you want to fight convictions you should do it for people that have a chance at benefitting from a release from prison. unfortnunately I imagine hundreds of people have been executed for crimes they didn't commit and it is sad but it happens.
    Just curious, LPR... Would you hold the same view if it was a friend or relative who had been executed?
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    Designated Threadkiller LincolnparkRed's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted
    Just curious, LPR... Would you hold the same view if it was a friend or relative who had been executed?
    I guess my problem with this is that there is no physical evidence to change the conviction. It is basically being brought up again by two people that now say they were lying then but now they are telling the truth. Like I said in the original post this would be more productive if this was done for someone that was living vs. someone that was dead.
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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Regardless of whether the one convicted is living or not, if others need to be brought to justice, then so be it.
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed
    I guess my problem with this is that there is no physical evidence to change the conviction. It is basically being brought up again by two people that now say they were lying then but now they are telling the truth. Like I said in the original post this would be more productive if this was done for someone that was living vs. someone that was dead.
    People are convicted every day without any physical evidence.
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Shouldn't the ones that lied and contributed to this man's death be prosecuted?

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    I believe there is a statute of limitations for perjury.

    It looks like all appeals were done. The US Supreme Court even refused to hear the case. Found this from the MO Attorney General’s Office:

    May 19, 1995
    Missouri Supreme Court sets execution date for drive-by shooter
    Jefferson City, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court has set an execution date of June 21 for Larry Griffin, convicted of the June 1980 drive-by shooting of Quintin Moss in St. Louis. Moss was shot 13 times with a revolver and a semi-automatic rifle; a passerby was wounded.

    Attorney General Jay Nixon asked for an execution date after the United States Supreme Court on May 15 denied Griffin’s request to hear his case. “It has been almost 15 years since Larry Griffin gunned down Quintin Moss in a hail of bullets on a St. Louis street in broad daylight because he believed Moss killed his brother,” Nixon said. “It is time for the sentence passed on Larry Griffin to be carried out after almost a decade and a half.”


    Also found this from an article written by a gentleman who witnessed Griffin's execution:

    Griffin, 41, had the usual "rap sheet" of a repeat offender -- repeated burglaries, robberies, felony assaults, and second and first degree murder, in addition to major and minor drug offenses. He had spent time in some of Missouri's finer penal institutions, with many of his sentences running concurrently.

    With a record like this, I am sure it did not help his cause back in the 1981 trial. Not that this is a reason to convict someone. However, you live the life that Mr. Griffin had led prior to this murder and you may get yourself in some troubled waters. No reason to execute an innocent man, but the ones deemed innocent like Griffin always seem to be a multiple offender.

    I am not sure if the word of one man is enough to convince me. But this case is interesting. It seems to be a popular case for those against capital punishment by doing a Google on it!
    Last edited by RedFanAlways1966; 07-13-2005 at 02:06 PM.
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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    As much as I can understand wanting to draw and quarter certain offenders (such as the murdering, raping dirtbag in Idaho) IMO civilized societies shouldn't have the death penalty.

    I don't really have a problem with sticking someone in a dark 10 x 6 cell with no furniture , books etc. for the rest of their lives, but I'm just not down with state sponsored murder.
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    I'm sure the people investigating this case are against the death penalty and I'm sure the main purpose is to prove to people that innocent people have indeed been executed. It's one thing to say this broadly, but when you can show a name, face and family of an innocent man who has been executed it should be a powerful anti-death penalty statement.

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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    It seems to be a popular case for those against capital punishment by doing a Google on it!
    An an unpopular case for those for it.

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Missouri may have executed an innocent man

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBloodedAmerican
    Shouldn't the ones that lied and contributed to this man's death be prosecuted?
    Morally, I think so. I think there should be no statue of limitations on perjury either. But for some reason, no one wants me to make all the rules
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