Monday, May 10, 2010

Terrell Johnson Case Summary

Terrell Johnson Case Summary

Terrell Johnson has spent the last 16 years locked in a state prison, separated from his children and loved ones, for a murder that Pittsburgh police know he did not commit. Terrell was charged with murder in the death of Verna Robinson after he refused to provide false testimony against two other men suspected of involvement in her killing. Verna , who was supposedly in the witness protection program for providing testimony regarding a shooting, was dropped off by police at her mother’s house in the community in which she was to be protected from. The only “evidence” used to convict Johnson consisted of the false testimony of Evelyn McBryde, who told police she witnessed the murder two weeks after it occurred and only after being arrested for theft. McBryde could have faced 50 years in prison due to her extensive record, which included charges of prostituting her children. Instead, charges were dropped against McBryde in exchange for her testimony against Terrell and two others. Because Terrell’s trial lawyer failed to conduct a proper investigation, the jury never knew of her record or other serious falsehoods in her testimony. Terrell’s alibis were also not called due to bad legal decisions. The other two men charged in the killing were found innocent of the homicide (one was found guilty of conspiracy) in separate trials because they could afford adequate lawyers.

In August of 2009, Terrell was awarded a new trial after Kenneth Robinson came forward with the information that McBryde was with him the night of the shooting, several blocks away from the murder scene in a Hazelwood basement.

In September of 2009 Terrell was offered a deal: admit to a lesser charge and be released immediately for time served. He refused the deal.

The new trial is scheduled for August 2, 2010, but there is one problem: the Commonwealth’s only witness—a proven liar with a lengthy criminal record—does not want anything to do with the case.

Terrell is currently being held on false charges based on zero evidence. He could have been released last year, but that would not be justice. Join the Justice for Terrell Campaign and mobilize to pressure the District Attorney to immediately drop these false charges and Free Terrell.

Please sign the online Petition: "Justice For Terrell Johnson"

Case Links

Tainted snitch says she won’t testify in a retrial for the man she helped convict: