Home » 2008 » 09 » 02 »
E-mail Print
St. Louis man free after 1985 murder trial ruled flawed
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | 5:09 p.m. CDT
BY MARGARET STAFFORD/The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY - A St. Louis man released from prison after a judge ruled that his 1984 murder trial was constitutionally flawed said he hopes his case will convince the public that the United States is jailing innocent people.
Darryl Burton, 46, was convicted in 1985 of capital murder and armed criminal action and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years. He was released from the Jefferson City Correctional Center on Friday, when prosecutors in St. Louis decided against trying him a second time for a gas station killing.
During a news conference Tuesday, Burton said he believes there are thousands of other innocent people in U.S. prisons.
"I come to prison thinking that is an isolated incident, I'm the only person this has ever happened to," Burton said. "I thought, justice just don't goof up like this, not in American justice, or what I term American injustice. But it does happen, in more cases than we know."
Burton was convicted despite the lack of physical evidence or any motive tying him to the June 1984 shooting death of Donald Ball at an Amoco station in St. Louis. He was convicted solely on the testimony of two men who said they saw the shooting.
But one of those witnesses, Claudex Simmons, lied during Burton's 1985 trial in St. Louis Circuit Court when he testified that he had been convicted of a crime only twice. In reality, his criminal record included at least seven felonies and five misdemeanors.
The failure to disclose Simmons' complete criminal history to the jury violated Burton's right to due process, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard G. Callahan said in his Aug. 18 ruling accompanying a writ of habeas corpus.
The judge gave the state 15 days to decide whether to retry Burton. The St. Louis Circuit attorney decided on Friday not to retry Burton and he was released.
That came as a pleasant shock to Burton, attorneys and investigators who had been working on his case for eight years. Burton said the warden told him personally that he was to be released and offered to have him driven to St. Louis.
"I told him I'd walk to St. Louis if what you're saying is for real," Burton said. "It was just surreal. You wait on these days, you wait and wonder and see other cases on the news. For me, I just said, ‘My day will come.'"
Attorney Cheryl Pilate, of suburban Kansas City, co-counsel Charlie Rogers and a Columbia pastor who had befriended Burton picked him up at the prison. They took him to St. Louis, where he was reunited with his mother and other family members.
Pilate said all those involved were thrilled with the outcome but joined Burton in hoping the case would highlight the difficulty of exonerating innocent inmates.
She said that's particularly hard in cases like Burton's that do not include any DNA evidence. Many wrongful convictions are won on "snitch" evidence from criminals seeking deals and weak eyewitness evidence, she said.
"His story is dramatic yet all too common," she said. "There are hundreds if not thousands of people just like him still sitting in prison."
Burton maintained his innocence from the beginning and relentlessly tried to get help, writing an estimated 600 to 700 letters and filing numerous appeals on his own. In 2000, Pilate and Rogers began working on the case with the help of Centurion Ministries, a national organization that provided investigators and money to help exonerate Burton.
Burton said his case began to turn in his favor after he became a committed Christian in 1998. He said he is not bitter but emphasized that prosecutors should not be allowed to offer "snitches" deals for testimony.
"The system we have in arguably the best country on earth is locking up its citizens because someone wants to get a conviction," Burton said. "It becomes a game. And you're dealing with people's lives. ... We can do better than what we have done with our system of justice. We have to."

DARRYL BURTON

Views: 1

Tags: AND, BETTER, BITTER, DAY, INJUSTICE, JOSEPH, MIRACLES, MODERN, NOT, SIGNS, More…WONDERS

Comment

You need to be a member of THE JAZZ NETWORK WORLDWIDE "A GREAT PLACE TO HANG" to add comments!

Join THE JAZZ NETWORK WORLDWIDE "A GREAT PLACE TO HANG"

Comment by DAHN B on January 28, 2009 at 10:57pm
I THANK GOD FOR THIS MANS' FREEDOM. IT WAS A MIRACLE,A SIGN, AND A WONDER
FROM THE VERY HAND OF GOD THAT HE IS NOT ONLY FREE, BUT HAS A RELATIONSHIP
WITH HIM AND IS LIVING A HOLY LIFE....GOD IS GOOD...DARRYL WAS THEN AND IS
STILL A TREASURED FRIEND. JOIN YOUR FAITH WITH MINE THAT GOD WILL COVER
AND KEEP DARRYL FOREVER IN HIS GRACE WHICH IS SUFFICIENT FOR US ALL!

DAHN

SPOTLIGHTED ARTISTS AND BUSINESSES:

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

Members

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos
blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos
Contact Jaijai today at: jaijai@thejazznetworkworldwide.com to learn how you can be the featured artist and other ways to promote your artistry, artist & business right here in The Jazz Network Worldwide! Join us today and become a lifetime member  and a part of our family of jazz for $5.00 through the end of the year!

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

 
 

 

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

Support The Jazz Network Worldwide

 

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos
suggestions Pictures, Images and Photos


Click the image to give us your ideas for great festivals, events, fundraisers, sponsors, investors, etc. Let's combine our databases to bring us all to the next level of networking!

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

RSS

George Shearing's Holiday Set On Piano Jazz

In a 2001 session, Shearing and host Marian McPartland reminisce about seasons gone by and play holiday songs, including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Away In A Manger."

An Upset Either Way: Steve Lehman And Wadada Leo Smith Triumph

Could anyone have predicted the first and second place finishers in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll? The poll master certainly didn't — and he voted for both of them.

The 2014 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

We had 140 jazz journalists weigh in on their favorite releases of the year. Here are their top overall picks, with top finishers in Latin jazz, vocal, debut and historical categories.
blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos
DISCLAIMER Pictures, Images and Photos
The Jazz Network reserves the right to approve, decline or ban membership at anytime without notice at its own discretion.

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

THE JAZZ NETWORK WORLDWIDE IS AN ORIGINAL ENTITY AND SOLE PROPRIETOR AND HAS NEVER PARTNERED OR AFFILIATED ITSELF WITH ANY OTHER JAZZ NETWORK THAT EXISTS THAT HAS A SIMILAR INTERFACE TO OUR ORIGINAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES, LAYOUT, ADVERTISEMENTS AND GRAPHIC DESIGN.

blinking divider Pictures, Images and Photos

 

© 2014   Created by Jaijai Jackson.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

googled77eeec400d24e5e.html