21 June 1995 – Larry Griffin

Larry GriffinInnocent until proven guilty – that’s every person’s human right. Sadly Larry Griffin’s controversial case throws some uncertainty into the mix.

The black American was found guilty of murder alright, but the circumstantial odds seemed to have been truly stacked against him.

The facts are these: a 19-year-old man was gunned down in a drive-by shooting, which took place in St Louis, and three black men were in the car from where the shots were fired. Griffin was identified by one eye witness, who was to become the prosecution’s star witness.

The 19-year-old victim was said to have been dealing drugs at the time.

All sounds pretty kosher doesn’t it? That is until the trial kicked in. Griffin was given a fresh-out-of-legal-school lawyer who’d never defended in a murder case. To be fair you’ve got to start somewhere, but Griffin’s own team singularly failed to find any evidence that stuck in court. But it appeared that there was plenty to be had, they just didn’t find it.

You see the prosecution’s case was purely circumstantial – they had no hard, fast facts. They revealed that only one eye witness had come forward. There were none of Griffin’s prints on the gun, nor in the car, and even the star witness – Robert Fitzgerald – eventually recanted his story saying that his identification had been prejudiced. He readily admitted he’d committed perjury.

Also commentators have made much of the fact that Griffin was actually left-handed while Fitzgerald had confirmed the gunman had been right-handed.

That’s not all. Actually there were other witnesses who were able to corroborate Griffin’s story that he was not involved, however the prosecution failed to reveal their existence. And, to be fair, that should have been for the defence to dig up, if they’d have done the job properly.

Sadly Griffin stuck with his team and they saw him through his appeals, despite a raft of evidence and witness statements that could have backed up Griffin’s plea of not guilty. Naturally the appeals failed too and the State of Missouri may well have brought an innocent man to his execution today in 1995. Griffin was put down by lethal injection aged 41.

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One Response to “21 June 1995 – Larry Griffin”

  1. moses tribble Says:

    good job

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