Jacksonville Men Exonerated After 43 Years in Prison
Clifford Williams and his nephew Nathan Myers were set free after Florida’s conviction integrity unit recommended their case be reviewed. The men spent 43 years behind bars after being convicted in 1976 of the murder of Jeanette Williams. The unit recommended a review of the case after attorneys for Williams and Myers failed to present evidence that would have contradicted the state’s only witness against the men. The panel found that, not only was there no credible evidence of guilt but that there was credible evidence of innocence. In a rare conclusion, the prosecution admitted that it was very unlikely that the two men had committed the terrible crime.
Williams, who is now 76 years old has been discharged with his nephew who is 61. Williams contends that he is not bitter about what happened to him, but it goes to show you just how unfair the criminal justice can be and just how much diligent and competent representation can be in a criminal case.
The Men Were Convicted on the Testimony of a Single Witness
During the trial, the prosecution put forth a single witness who fingered Williams and Myers for the crimes. But even during that trial, it was apparent that there was at least some forensic evidence to exonerate the men. The question then becomes: What happened? Not only did the men have a credible alibi, but there was forensic evidence in their favor as well. It’s an example of two men being railroaded by a criminal justice system intent on convicting defendants at all costs.
So what happened? Why didn’t the defense attorneys who were tasked with representing these men put their alibi witnesses on the stand? Additionally, there were forensic analysts who refuted the state’s star witness and determined that the shooting could not have occurred the way it was described to jurors.
The state’s witness, Nina Marshall was a survivor of the shooting that claimed Jeanette Williams’ life. She was shot in the neck. She blamed Williams and Myers for the attack and her report police triggered their subsequent arrest and criminal charges. Police, however, never found any physical evidence tying the men to the crime and investigators were suspicious of the account right from the beginning. It seemed impossible that the shooting occurred inside the room. Not only was there a hole in the glass window overlooking the bedroom, but the glass was inside the room and on the floor. Forensics determined that the bullets were fired from one gun but the witness testified that the bullets were from two separate guns.
Lastly, the police had a confession from another man who claimed responsibility for the crime but that confession was ignored due to a ‘misunderstanding’. That misunderstanding cost two men the better part of their lives.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a crime, don’t let a corrupt criminal justice system railroad you. Get the best representation you can find. West Palm Beach criminal lawyer Scott Skier represents those charged with crimes in the area. Talk to us today and we can begin discussing your options.