by Raney Mease
|On October 19, 1994, Kirkland
Grantham came to my girlfriend's residence looking for her cousin, Reginald
Palmer. Supposedly, Reggie was to help him get rid of a few ounces
of marijuana. I told him that Reggie was not there and that he should
come back around noon. Grantham left and came back about half an
hour later. I allowed him in the house and called Reggie's house
for him. After he was unable to contact Reggie, he explained that
he needed to contact him as soon as possible. He also asked if I
knew of any place he could get rid of the marijuana. He told me that
he would give me a cut if I could help him, I told him yes. I got
dressed and left with Grantham. When we got outside to the car, there
was another guy in the car, Charles Tucker.
After leaving my girlfriend's residence, we drove to another guy's house, named David Shelton. Grantham got out of the car to talk with him, but went into the house. When he came out, he had a brown paper bag with him. From there, Grantham drove to Jefferson Avenue and parked a few houses away from Johnny Meek's residence. Grantham and Tucker got out of the car and headed to Meek's house. This was when the mayhem began.
While sitting in the car, I heard what I thought was a gunshot. I got out of the car and listened carefully. I heard some yelling. After stepping all the way out of the car, I shut the door, then heard multiple gunshots. I ran to the nearest corner and turned around to look in the direction of the house. I saw someone coming through a window, who turned out to be Tucker, and Grantham came out the front of the house bleeding.
From that point, I ran to an elementary school (Hamilton Elementary). I saw a cab and attempted to flag him down. When it was obvious that he wasn't going to stop, I shouted at him to call the police. When I arrived at the school, I asked the lady in the office if I could use the phone. She asked me why and I told her that I just heard and seen someone get shot. She led me to the back office where I called the police and told them I was simply an innocent bystander, who happened to be coming from checking on a job, on my way to my girlfriend's mother's house. That was true, I was supposed to go over to her mother's home to help her out with a few jobs around the house, since she had just had surgery.
After calling the police, I was told to wait for officers to pick me up. I waited on the front steps of the school, and a few minutes later was picked up by a female officer. After being taken back to the scene, I was interviewed by a Detective Edward Kallay. I told him that I was simply returning from checking on a job at a BP station nearby an just happened to walk in the way of the situation. I told him that I didn't know either of the guys who had entered Meek's home, and that I knew nothing of a robbery.
The truth was that I had just met Grantham about a week earlier, and seen Tucker for the first time that morning. It is also true that I didn't know anything about a robbery. Had I told police that I had accompanied Grantham and Tucker in the car, with the intent of getting some marijuana, I would have surely gone to jail, and didn't want that. Also, I have a past record, and have been arrested several times for receiving stolen property. This is why I was untruthful from the beginning.
After I was questioned, I was released, and went directly to my girlfriend's mother's home. Grantham later died at the hospital, and Tucker eluded arrest until a week later in Oberlin, Ohio.
On October 26, 1994, Tucker allegedly confessed to his role in the robbery, and implicated me as the person who supplied the gun used in the robbery. Tucker was said to have told police that he, Grantham and I plotted the robbery the night before at a bar, that I supplied them with two guns, that I kicked in the front door, and that I entered the house first.
At trial, Tucker testified that I gave him one gun, and that he kicked the door in. He also stated that he had never met me until that morning, and that I never entered the house. The issue with these inconsistent statements is that Tucker was never cross-examined on these statements. The jury never knew that he ever made these conflicting statements. I believe that if they had heard all of this, they would have clearly seen that Tucker intended to shift the weight off of himself.
About a month after the incident, I learned that David Shelton had played a role in all of this. I learned that Shelton gave Tucker and Grantham some information about Meek, and that Shelton called Meek before they went to his house. I did not learn that Shelton had given them that gun in the brown paper bag until after I was convicted. Shelton testified at my trial that, a few days after the robbery attempt had occurred, I allegedly told him that I was with Tucker and Grantham when they went to rob Meek. I deny that I told him any of this or the like. Now I know why he lied on me. He was actually the person who gave them the gun and supplied them with the information regarding Meek.
My conviction was based on Tucker's testimony that I supplied him with the gun and walked to the front door of Meek's house, and on Shelton's testimony, claiming that I told him that I was with Grantham and Tucker.
I believe that the proof of my innocence is not only within the facts of the case, but in three affidavits that Charles Tucker has submitted after my conviction. Charles Tucker's affidavits reveal that this case is a good old fashioned "railroad". Tucker tells how the detective in this case coerced him into lying about my involvement in the robbery. Tucker also tells how he told the prosecutor in this case that I was innocent and played no role in any robbery.
The prosecutor, Tim Braun, never gave me this information. All of the new evidence was hidden. After it was brought into the light, the trial court judge, David Fais, hid the evidence even further under lies by applying the most convenient legal standards. Rather than hear the evidence, the judge chose to rule that it bore no weight, that it contradicted my own testimony, and that it was not new evidence!
Evidence of this magnitude cannot be swept under the rug. Judge Fais said that even if the new evidence was presented at a new trial, the verdict would not be different because none of the prior evidence supporting my guilt was affected by it! This judge told a blatant lie and he knows it. I guarantee that if you were to ask Judge Fais to show you any evidence against me besides Tucker's trial testimony, he couldn't.
To further demonstrate that this is a case where an innocent man was railroaded, I submit to you that my own lawyer, Robert O. Schopis (public defender) knew that Charles Tucker was lying about my involvement. He had obtained information from Michael Moore that indicated Tucker had expressed his intention and willingness to lie to secure the best legal deal possible.
I give to you fact, not fiction. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I have spent over 6 years in prison for crimes I did not commit. Each and every person in the State of Ohio is at risk of being a victim of the same injustice.
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