Tag: Caddo Parish

Louisiana Man Corey Williams Free After Being Wrongfully Sentenced to Death at 16 Over 20 Years Ago

Corey Dewayne Williams, right, after his release Tuesday morning from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, with lawyers Amir Ali, far left, and Blythe Taplin. (photo via Amir Ali)

via eji.org

More than 20 years after he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, Corey Williams walked free from Louisiana’s Angola Prison last week.

Corey Williams was an intellectually disabled child just three weeks past his 16th birthday when he was arrested for the murder and robbery of a pizza delivery man in Shreveport in 1998. Impaired by severe lead poisoning, Corey was known in his community as a “chump” who would take the blame for things he had not done.

Police knew about Corey’s disability, but they interrogated him all night until he accepted blame for the murder and then told them, “I’m tired. I’m ready to go home and lay down.”

Booking photos of Williams, taken by the Shreveport Police Department. (Shreveport Police Department)

Caddo Parish District Attorney Hugo Holland aggressively sought the death penalty for Corey Williams. Along with his successor, Dale Cox, Mr. Holland is responsible for 75 percent of all death sentences imposed in Louisiana between 2010 and 2015.

No physical evidence linked Corey Williams to the crime. Instead, the evidence pointed to three men who were seen robbing the victim after he was shot. The victim’s money and pizzas were found in a dumpster near their house; one man’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon; and the victim’s blood was found on another man’s clothing. Those three pinned the crime on Corey Williams.

The prosecution suppressed evidence that supported Corey’s innocence, including evidence that the police believed the other suspects conspired to set him up and admissions from multiple witnesses that they had falsely accused Mr. Williams after being threatened by men at the scene.

Mr. Williams was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 2002, the Supreme Court barred the death penalty for people with intellectual disability, in part because a person with intellectual disability is at heightened risk of “unwittingly confess[ing] to a crime that he did not commit.” As a result, Corey Williams was removed from death row. But Louisiana courts upheld his conviction after refusing to consider his age and intellectual disability in evaluating whether his confession was reliable.

In March 2018, attorneys for Mr. Williams filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to reverse Mr. Williams’s conviction because of prosecutorial misconduct, which included faking “summaries” of witness statements to incriminate Mr. Williams. A group of 44 former prosecutors and Justice Department officials, including former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, signed a brief in support of the petition. Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart responded by agreeing to immediately release Mr. Williams in exchange for a guilty plea to lesser offenses.

“Imagine your child leaving to hang out with friends, and then losing him or her for twenty years,” Mr. Williams’s attorney Amir Ali said in a statement. “No one can give Corey back the time that he wrongfully spent behind bars, away from his family and friends. Today, we ensure this tragedy ends here—Corey can finally go home.”

Sources: https://eji.org/news/corey-williams-released-from-louisiana-prison and The Washington Post

Ollie Tyler, 69, Becomes 1st Black Woman to be Elected Mayor of Shreveport

(Image: Twitter)
Mayor Ollie Tyler (Image: Twitter)

Shreveport, Louisiana made history over the weekend as the city swore in Ollie Tyler, their first-ever black female mayor. Tyler, 69, won with 65% of the city’s votes. “Your vote was your voice and you sent a message to the next generations that we are vested in our city and will use the challenges we face as opportunities to create unity around a vision that will move us to build a stronger, better Shreveport,” Tyler wrote in a letter to the citizens of Shreveport. “I will work with a sense of urgency to bring pride, excitement, and economic growth to our city.”

Ollie Tyler was elected the 48th Mayor of the City of Shreveport. Council members-elect are Willie Bradford, Jeff Everson, Oliver Jenkins, Michael Corbin, James Flurry, Stephanie Lynch and Jerry Bowman. Mayor Tyler was formerly an education administrator, according to USA Today, and this is her first time serving as an elected official. She revealed several of her aims at the Inauguration, which included enhancing police force in high-crime areas, calculating a budget to balance the city’s finances, improving sewers and streets, attracting Fortune 500 companies, and cleaning up Shreveport’s major gateways.

During Tyler’s political race, a piece of her past resurfaced and it was revealed that the now mayor fatally shot her abusive husband in 1968. USA Today reported that “Tyler said she was never indicted and said the killing was ruled an ‘accidental and justifiable homicide.’” After the incident, Tyler proved that you really can overcome anything by becoming a teacher, Parish of Caddo’s Director of Middle Schools, New Orleans city schools’ Deputy Superintendent, Superintendent of Caddo Parish Public Schools, Louisiana’s Deputy Superintendent of Education and Acting State Superintendent of Education. Her latest victory as Shreveport’s first black mayor involved her defeating a white woman lawyer who’s 15 years younger.

Mayor Tyler was born in Caddo Parish. She obtained her Bachelor of Science from Grambling State University, and a Master of Education from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge.

article by Essence Gant via blackenterprise.com