Esmond Neal, # 365-700

"...they said I shot a man- it took two trials before I was convicted
(the first ending in a hung jury)
It was never established that I was guilty."

  My conviction hinged on several distinct elements, i.e., "forensic testing by the Canton-Stark County Crime Laboratory", and "several highly suspect juror episodes of misconduct and prejudice."

  In the first part, the scientific evidence completely excluded me as a suspect in this case.  Unfortunately, Jennifer Bloink, Serologist of the Canton-Stark County Crime Lab, lost that evidence before it could be presented at trial.  Still, the evidence had been tested, and the hair fibers found, completely and irrefutably, "to a degree of scientific certainty", excluded me as a suspect in this case altogether.

  This scientific test conclusion was not available for the first trial, simply put, "it was withheld" by the Director, Robert Budgate, of the Canton-Stark County Laboratory.  It wasn't until the first trial resulted in a hung jury, and the second trial commenced, that those exculpatory tests results became available to the defense.

May 10, 2000

  The court, in accordance with it's normal course of operation, affirmed conviction on the basis of a confused and nonsensical rearrangement of the facts presented at the state trial.  To affirm conviction, the court had to first determine that Raymond Jackson, who was convicted of complicity to felonious assault, was testifying truthfully against me at the second trial despite a deal that he encouraged with the state prosecutors, for a lighter sentence in lieu of that suspect testimony.

  The court had to accept as true that Jackson and myself had attempted to rob Hinkel a month prior to the shooting, and that, according to Mr. Jackson, he and I were drug dealers, and then only part time robbers.

  Of course, Jackson was angry at me because he thought that I had implicated his brother, Terez Davidson, as being the actual person who accompanied Jackson at both the robbery and the shooting incidents.

  The court found that the testimony presented at the state trial (by 2 different lawyers) clearly made the point that Jackson had openly admitted that I was not guilty, and when the finger pointed at his brother, and the offer of a deal for a lighter sentence arose, he completely changed his testimony.  The court had attempted to imply that I was somehow involved with an alleged robbery attempt against Hinkel, a month prior to the shooting, through the testimony of Jackson.

  The court had to determine a motive for my alleged shooting of Hinkel, like revenge, and tried to connect me to that motive on the basis of the attempted robbery which Jackson was supposed to have committed.  Confused yet?  Let's try it this way:

  Raymond Jackson and his brother attempted to rob Hinkel and failed.  The two of them, bent on revenge, sought a second time about a month later, and this time they brought a gun.  Hinkel was drunk, high on crack cocaine, resisted, and was shot.  There was a 3rd party with them, Roger Bowman, who dropped his hat when leaving the scene after the shooting, so there were 3 hats found.

  None of the evidence from the scene has done anything other than exclude me in this matter.  However, Jackson, who originally stated that I was innocent, changed his statement after he was convicted, and only after the Stark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office indicated to him that he would get a substantially reduced sentence if he were to change his statement and testify against me at the second trial.  Jackson also sought to protect his brother from being arrested and charged, and I was fair game in the exchange.

  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern that Jackson would have testified against his own mother to avoid a 13 year prison term, so he changed his statement.

  I wrote a couple letters to my baby's mother discussing the issue, and though I had later abandoned such thoughts,  her mother had in the meantime stolen the letters from her personal property, and turned those letters over to the police to be used against me.

  Natalie had never given her mother consent or authorization to go through her personal property and steal the letters.  In fact, she had no idea that her mother had stolen them until the police were involved.  Her mother made it irrefutably clear that she did not want her daughter associating with a black man, and as the transcript clearly indicates, the sole basis for her betrayal was racially motivated.

  If nothing else, the letters should never have been allowed into evidence at trial against me, especially because everyone involved, including the police, the prosecutors, and the judge, all knew that the letters were a product of a racially motivated theft.

  But since we're talking about Stark County, this case was unquestionably racially charged and the Rules of Evidence don't apply.  Stark County prosecuting authorities have no qualms or reservations in using stolen materials, false material testimony, or racially damning circumstances to obtain the conviction of any African-American who dates outside of his race.

  After my conviction, my prosecuting attorney telephoned the mother to personally advise her that, "he won't be bothering your daughter for a long time..."  One would have thought that the prosecutor would have at least called the alleged victim and made this statement to him, but my trials and conviction had nothing to do with guilt or innocence, rather, it was all about separating me from my son and his mother!

  Surely the Stark County authorities didn't give a damn about Mr. Hinkel, but they were exercising only their inherent agenda, of ridding the community of yet another interracial relationship.  African-Americans in Stark County who date outside their race don't fear racial hate groups.  The ones to watch out for are the ones in positions of power and authority in the Canton Police Department and the Stark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

  If a white woman is dating a black man in Canton, Ohio, the family need only "make the call" and somebody's going to prison, or the grave.  Most commonly comes allegations of rape, and running a close second is aggravated trafficking in drugs, or promotion in prostitution, but the bottom line remains, that interracial dating in Canton is an exercise in doing so at your own risk!

  It should be noted that Natalie's mother owns a bar in Canton, Tom & Shelly's, and that after I was convicted, my prosecutor and the investigating police sergeant continued to frequent her establishment, and celebrated, "on the house" the 9 year prison term which was imposed.

  Now, this is not to say that police and prosecutorial officials are not permitted to celebrate a criminal conviction, but when that celebration is hosted and funded under such highly questionable circumstances, and the "crackhead, 2-time imprisoned alleged victim" is not invited, and where the undercurrent of that celebration is specifically found upon the bar owner's openly stated racist motives for wanting me separated from her daughter and my son, then reason and common human experience surely dictate that my repeated prosecution for a crime that everyone knew I did not commit, was nothing more than a covert extension of the status quo.

  It is my position that my conviction was bought and paid for, as were Jackson's recanted statements.  Natalie's mother wanted me out of the picture, she stole personal letters from her own daughter, and turned them over to the police to ensure that I would be convicted.  She was on an obvious and proclaimed racist mission to exercise her community standing to personally ensure that an innocent man be sent to prison at any cost.

  I ask you- what about Mr. Hinkel?  What about the integrity of the judicial process where private citizens can purchase, through gratuities, the justice they seek, regardless of what the law would require otherwise?

  Surely this is not South Africa in 1983, nor is it Mississippi in 1963.  This is America, and in America, vindictive or selective prosecutions on the basis of racial hatred is a crime in and of itself.

  So long as Natalie is the mother of my child, and because I will love my son all the days of my life, my life and liberty (so long as I live in Canton, Ohio), will forever be subject to the racist agendas of the Stark County Prosecuting Attorney and the Canton City Police Department.

  I didn't shoot Mr. Hinkel, I didn't attempt to rob him either, and I'm not a drug dealer
as Jackson would have it told.  I am a young African-American man
who fell in love with a white girl in Canton, Ohio.
I am a father, they made me a convict, but regardless of all else,
they can never make me guilty!  They can only make me suffer.

Very Special Thanks to Venus, the Keeper of my Heart


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