Wu-Tang Clan recording studio employee wrongly accused of murder overturned
A New York man who was wrongly convicted of murder has been exonerated after spending 23 years in prison fighting to get his name clear.
Grant Williams appeared in Staten Island court Thursday where his conviction was overturned for shooting another man in 1996. This came after 13 people provided new testimony that he couldn’t be the shooter, the one of those who gave Williams an alibi.
Following his acquittal, Williams was pictured outside hugging his 30-year-old son Antoine Morton, who was just a toddler when he was given a life sentence.
“I used to tell everyone in jail, ‘I’m innocent,’ Williams said in court, according to the New York Daily News.
“They were like, ‘Aw Williams, everybody says that. “I would say, ‘I’m telling you the truth. One day you’ll see me on the news, and you’ll see that I was innocent.’
Williams is the first person to win a wrongful conviction lawsuit on Staten Island.
On July 22, the Staten Island judge exonerated Grant Williams of New York, 50 (center) of the murder of Shdell Lewis after 13 additional witnesses testified. Six of the witnesses witnessed the shooting while others reinforced Williams’ testimony
During his 23 years in prison, Williams struggled to clear his name throughout his sentence. In 2000, when he asked the NYPD to test a Wu-Tang baseball cap left at the scene of the shooting, police claimed the garment had been destroyed.
The reopening of Williams’ case was boosted when his legal counsel submitted new witness tests to the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office. The office’s conviction integrity unit determined that the identification procedures used by the police at the time were “out of date”
Judge Wayne Ozzi overturned Williams’ conviction on Thursday two years after his parole for his 1997 conviction for shooting Shdell Lewis.
‘Sir. Williams, there is nothing that I or anyone in this courtroom can say that can make all those years of incarceration, ”Ozzi said. “It was a grave injustice to you. It’s a shame it took so long … All I can do is wish you luck in everything you do from this day forward.
Williams, a former employee of the Wu-Tang Clan label, was indicted in April 1996 for the murder of Lewis. He was shot dead by an armed man wearing a black jacket who left a Wu-Tang Clan hat at the scene.
After only four hours of investigation and the contribution of a single eyewitness, police mistakenly identified Williams as the killer.
The officer who pursued the shooter gave a physical description that did not fit Williams. The gunman’s hat found at the scene was not DNA tested. There was no DNA evidence or fingerprints, and Williams’ alibi placed him in the Wu-Tang studio.
Among the evidence used to convict Williams was his nickname – the cops’ only witness told them the shooter was called “Boo-Boo,” what some friends called Williams, according to the New York Daily News.
“I think once the police got ID they stopped investigating,” William’s attorney, Irving Cohen, told ABC’s New York affiliate WABC.
Williams worked with the Wu-Tang Clan at their New York studio – some of the new witnesses said he was there the night Shdell Lewis was murdered
When Williams asked the NYPD to test the hat for DNA evidence in 2000, the department alleged it had been destroyed by his clerk’s office.
In 2017, additional testimony taken by Cohen led the district attorney’s office to reopen the investigation.
Six of them witnessed the shooting and told investigators Williams was not the shooter, according to WABC. An alibi witness told police he met Williams that evening at his mother’s house on Cebra Avenue in Staten Island before the couple went to the Wu-Tang Recording Studio where they stayed the rest of the day. night with others. Other witnesses who did not come forward were questioned.
The information was eventually passed on to the new Conviction Integrity Unit, which afterwards determined that the identification procedures used by the police at the time were outdated.
“Thirteen witnesses that we developed in total were in his favor,” said assistant DA Wanda DeOliveira. “Even an alibi witness, and an alibi confirmation too. ”
Outside court on Thursday, Williams was joined by his family and friend Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan team.
‘I’m glad it’s over now. It was as if a ton of bricks had just been lifted, ”he said. “Everyone is happy. I missed him, he’s been gone for so long. He’s gone, part of me is gone. It was as if never the same thing again.
“It was hurtful. I’m just glad I’m still alive and he’s still alive so I can meet again, reconnect and move on.
Cohen intends to file two separate lawsuits on Williams’ behalf, according to Law & Crime, seeking damages for his client’s decades of imprisonment.