USA - Georgia. Larry Lee Becomes 155th Person Added to the Death Penalty Information Center's Innocence List

23 January 2017 :

Larry William Lee Becomes 155th Person Added to the Death Penalty Information Center's Innocence List. On June 8, 2015, the Wayne County Georgia Superior Court granted the prosecution’s motion to dismiss all charges against Lee, 56, White. Lee had spent more than 27 years in prison (more than 20 on death row) for a triple murder during a home robbery. (See Order of Nolle Prosequi, Wayne County, GA, Superior Court, June 8, 2015). In March 1988 Lee was sentenced to death for the murders of 48-year-old Clifford Jones, his wife, 47-year-old Nina Jones, and their 14-year-old son, Jerold. The three were shot to death in their home on April 26, 1986 during a burglary. On April 28, 2008, Superior Court Judge Gary McCorvey granted Lee a new trial, finding that prosecutors had engaged in a “full spectrum of prosecutorial misconduct,” accompanied by prejudicial investigative failures by his trial counsel. (Lee v. Terry, Butts County, GA, Superior Court, May 1, 2008). As described by the Superior Court, Lee was convicted and sentenced to death based upon “a weak prosecution case dependent for its success on the believability of two witnesses unfavored in the law and by the public – a jailhouse snitch and a co-conspirator – with absolutely no forensic evidence to link him to the crime scene”. The court found that the prosecution affirmatively misrepresented to the defense and the court that it had no exculpatory evidence in its files, while concealing evidence that contradicted the testimony or undermined the credibility of every one of its key witnesses. It also manipulated the trial proceedings by first denying the defense access to the physical evidence and then presenting evidence and argument it knew to be false that suggested Lee had been in possession of guns stolen from the victims’ home. The prosecution also concealed evidence that linked two other suspects to the murders and subsequently lost or destroyed 47 latent fingerprints and 15 unknown hairs recovered from the scene that did not match Lee, preventing Lee’s post-conviction lawyers from examining this exculpatory physical evidence to identify the actual perpetrators. In February 2015, the Superior Court barred the prosecution from presenting the prior testimony of two now-deceased witnesses, ruling that prosecutorial misconduct had prevented Lee from adequately cross-examining these witnesses at trial (see Order Concerning Admissibility of Evidence, Wayne County, GA, Superior Court, February 19, 2015), and leading to the decision to drop the charges against Lee. Lee remained incarcerated on the conviction arising from a fourth murder. In 1988, Lee pled guilty to felony murder in Charles Moore’s June 17 1986 death and was sentenced to life in prison.

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