Man Freed From Prison After Serving 21 Years For Murder He Didn’t Commit
Another Black man was set free from prison after experiencing a tragic injustice.
According to CNN, John Miller of Pennsylvania was freed on Wednesday after spending 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. He was only released after a star witness in the case confessed to the killing.
Miller left the State Correctional institution in Frackville after prosecutors declined to retry him, saying there wasn’t enough evidence, according to court papers.
“I’m very happy and excited that after 21 years I’m finally being heard and that my innocence has reached the surface,” Miller said in a written statement. “I’m going home to my family. I’m overwhelmed, excited, and happy.”
Miller acknowledged his attorney as the person who helped secure his release after years of claiming his innocence. He was convicted in 1997 for the October 1996 murder of Anthony Mullen during an attempted robbery outside of Philly’s 30th Street railroad station.
Mullen was shot to death, and Miller was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder. One David Williams served as a witness who identified Miller as the killer, according to court records. Williams told cops in exchange for leniency in another case that Miller had told him that he killed Mullen, according to court records.
However, eventually, Williams couldn’t live with his conscious. He recanted his statement even before Miller’s preliminary hearing, and “he has been confessing to Mullen’s murder for more than a decade,” the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office explained in a motion filed Monday that declined to retry Miller.
Williams even sent a letter to Miller’s mom in December 2002, saying that he was the one who committed the murder.
“I can’t live with this on my conscience. Your son had no knowledge of this crime. He wasn’t even there. I lied on him,” he wrote, according to the court.
Miller filed 10 appeals just to get all of them denied, according to his attorney Thomas Gallagher. Miller’s legal team, which also consisted of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, took on the case eight years ago and obtained evidence that hadn’t been previously laid out to Miller’s defense team, Gallagher said. The evidence raised questions about what officials knew about Williams’ initial testimony, according to court papers.
Finally, a federal judge ordered Miller’s release on July 1, subject to a decision by the district attorney on whether to carry out a new trial.
This week, the District Attorney’s Office said there was “insufficient evidence” to pursue a case against Miller. On Wednesday, a Common Pleas Court judge concurred and ordered Miller’s release.
The District Attorney’s Office has yet to say whether they’ll be pursuing charges against Williams.
Congrats to Miller and his family.
A big F you to the continually failing justice system.