A Wrongfully Convicted Man // Notes from the Inside
Peace and Balance:
In Full Resistance Behind Enemy Lines:
I am an innocent man and I have spent the last eighteen years of my life inside of a cage for a crime I did not commit. On July 10 1997, I was arrested for the shooting death of Leroy Hargis, a man I never met. I was given a codependent named William Billy Bunce who made a video statement implicating me in this crime he was initially arrested for, same as he did to a Todd Moore for an earlier murder he was arrested for. Later on, William Bunce wrote out a recantation and confession to the crime of murder that he accused me of. The case was severed and my attorney Allan P. Haber, never called William Bunce to the stand in my trial to testify and once I was convicted, William Bunce was released without ever going to trial.
I am judged for my first crime, where Arnold Southall, was dating my mother and tried to pimp and force her into prosititution, she resisted and he beat her into a coma, I came home from school, and found myself cornered by Arnold Southall, and he took and pulled a gun out on me and attempted to shoot me, we fought for his gun. Arnold Southall lost his life in the struggle. I did not intend to take Arnold Southall’s life, it was not preplanned, it just happened that during the struggle the gun went off and Arnold Southall lost his life. I was arrested and I confessed to the incident and I plead guilty to Manslaughter at the tender age of fifteen (15) and spent seven long hard years in maximum-security prisons.
Huey Philips and Kenny Nunez, two three time felony offenders came forward only after being arrested for serious crimes, and it is till not clear whether they brought my name up first or if the police did stating that they heard gunshots then allegedly seen me flee the victims building and that they knew me for seven years, or more which is impossible because I was in a upstate prison for seven years and wasn’t home a full 45 days when this crime took place. Kenny Nunez was arrested for his third felony narcotics sale of controlled substance crack cocaine whereupon he received a sentence of 2 to 4 years at the time when the Rockefeller drug laws were in effect and during the trial Nunez claimed that he did not receive any deals for his testimony. (James Williamson was the prosecutor in my case) Huey Phillips was arrested for assault as his third felony. I had written the court with Philips arrest number in order to obtain his plea allocation, sentence minutes and pre-sentence Report and the court directed me to write to the district attorney’s office because the case against Mr. Phillips was never processed or docketed. I wrote the district attorney’s office and A.D.A. F.O.I.L. Officer Ms. Sarah Hines stated that the case against Huey Philips is sealed. Huey Philips also testified at my trial under oath and claimed that he never received any type of deal in exchange for his testimony and he, also claimed that he was with his cousin at the time of the incident. Octavius Harding and they observed the whole incident together. Octavius Harding the cousin of Huey Phillips when question at my trial stated that his cousin Huey Phillips is lying because he is H.I.V. positive and is afraid to go to jail and do time.
Erick Pitt came forward 2 and 1/2 years after the crime and stated that he had heard gunshots and that he allegedly had seen me fleeing the victims building. Leslie Neptune, an illegal Haitian immigrant facing deportation who had a severe crack addiction came forward 25 months after the crime and also stated that he allegedly seen me from a five story window flee the victims building after he heard gunshots.
David Irons, a Gang member to the “Blood Gang” and a career criminal serving a sentence of seventy-five (75) years to life for robbery and terrorizing nineteen (19) Holocaust survivors, claimed that I allegedly confessed to him in jail and that I had allegedly plotted to frame the co-defendant that was given to me for the crime I stand convicted for which the co-defendant has already admitted to committing. Common experience teaches that even an innocent person who believes that he will be placed under suspicion may instinctively or protectively resort to conduct which might create the appearance of guilt in order to avoid criminal prosecution. Even so, if of slight value standing alone, and may never be made a basis for a finding of guilt, but only used to strengthen other more direct and substantial evidence of guilt. In this day and age, jail house informants looking to make deals, destroy more lives with lies and deceit than certain diseases. Informants have been falsifying confessions in the United States since at least 1819. At one point in history, Jailhouse informants served a good purpose. They helped authorities monitor dangerous organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. As time progresses, however, jailhouse informants began to obfuscate the truth more than they advanced it. Jailhouse informants are willing to say anything about anyone if they think it will help them. The damage Jailhouse informants inflict is enormous and of the main reasons there are so many innocent people wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit. More simply, informants fabricate confessions by asking other inmates why they are in prison. When the inmate tells the informant about the crime of which the police accused him, the informant repeats the story to police as a confession, conveniently omitting claims of innocence. Example: District Attorneys in New York used Laurel Huffman repeatedly, despite his history as a jailhouse informant. They claimed that they had no knowledge whatsoever that Huffman was a habitual informant in Pennsylvania and Arizona, but they never called the district attorneys in either state to find out. Newsday, on the other hand tracked his past through readily accessible public records. Prosecutorial use of jailhouse informants is extremely dangerous for two major reasons besides the ones already stated: First, it is a substantial contributor to convictions of the innocent, and second, it releases a host of unsavory characters back into society. There are no eyewitnesses that claimed that they actually seen me shoot Mr. Leroy Hargis. The 911 phone calls made by witnesses stated that the suspect is 5 foot 10 inches or taller and a stocky 200 pounds or more. I on the contrary am 5 foot 4 inches tall with boots and weigh 160 pounds fully clothed.
Ms. Tasha Cucuta testified that I was with her at all times at Ms. Tasha Cucuta’s apartment and traveled together during the day when the alleged incident took place. My sister, Ms. Tanya Steward, also testified to this fact, both made statements to the police at the police station, neither had criminal records and were both legitimately and gainfully employed; cross examination but the prosecution was totally unproductive and the chronology related by them remained unshaken.
Derrick Harris and Ms. Rose Marie Turner stated that they had actually seen the person who committed the crime and that I am not the killer of Leroy Hargis. They further testified that Huey Philips, Kenny Nunez, and Erick Pitt were known to them because they grew up with them and neither of them were anywhere near the vicinity of the incident when it took place. There were two other eyewitnesses who identified someone else as the actual killer of Leroy Hargis in line ups at the 26th police station conducted by detective Luis Serrano. The identification of these eyewitnesses was never disclosed to me. In a recent F.O.I.L. request that I received a DD-5 (complaint form) made by a detective Albert Acevedo that states he received two photos of me from my parole officer Charles Watson 2 days after the crime. What is so disturbing about this is that I was paroled to the Bronx County and this is a Manhattan Detective who possessed these photos of me a whole month prior to my arrest.
I have written my trial attorney and asked if he ever had knowledge of the DD-5 and if so why did he not place detective Albert Acevedo on the stand and ask: 1.) Who informed him of my existence and why go to my Bronx parole officer to get photographs of me for investigation in a Manhattan homicide? 2.) What was he doing with these photos of me, who or how many people did he show these photos to and where are these photos now? My attorney never responded to these questions. The crime scene, control sheet says that a possible blood sample was secured from the crime scene and the medical examiner conducted forensic biology and serology examination on this sample and the results were never turned over to me. Two private investigators, both retired homicide police officers found five eyewitnesses, (Kerry Ross, Errol Robinson, Barbershop owner Master John, Jesse Griffin, and Robert Bradley) to this crime who all stated that I am not the killer of Mr. Leroy Hargis. My trial attorney was made aware of this fact, and interviewed these witnesses. Had each of them subpoenaed or brought to court every day of my trial but did not put not one of them on the stand to testify. I was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five (25) years to life for the killing of Leroy Hargis, (Trial was held before Judge James Yates, part 31, 100 Centre Street N.Y., N.Y. 10013).
While I have been in prison, I learned as much as possible how the law is formatted in order to prove my innocence. I have filed every type of motion I could possibly to prove my innocence. I have filed every type of motion I could possibly to prove my innocence. I have filled a 330.30 motion, five 440.10 motions, two 440.20 motions, a Error Coram Nobis Motion, a Writ of Certiorari, a state habeas corpus, a federal habeas corpus, a rearmament motion and a reconsideration motion to every motion and every single one I denied. I tracked down the eyewitnesses my attorney never allowed to testify, and received sworn notarized affidavits from them and I filed another 440.10 motion and was denied. I went to the Appellate Division and was still denied because the court claims that I require an affirmation from my trial attorney explaining why he never put these witnesses on the stand to testify. I hounded my attorney with the request by writing him one letter a week for two years until he finally provided me with an affirmation. I filed another 440.10 motion and was denied again without a hearing. I appealed to the Appellate Division and I was denied again by the same court that stated I need an affirmation and this time with the affirmation, they stated that there was no question of law or fact.
I have written the District Court, Supreme Court, Magistrate and Administrative Judges, U.S. District Attorney, The District Attorney of ten different countries, U.S. and New York State Attorney General, the Integrity Unit, Conviction review Bureau, forty-eight (48) Congressmen, sixty-two (62) Senators, one hundred and fifty (150) Assemblymen, eighty (80) Councilmen, Thousands of Lawyers, every Bar Association, Legal Aid-Society, Prisoners Legal Services, Exoneration agency, Appeals Bureau, Law Schools, Law library, college, and Innocent Projects in New York State, and even in some other states as well as other countries. Finally the esteemed Law Professor Adele Bernhard of the New York Law School Innocence Project accepted my case and I’ve already been in the deepest darkest corner of hell for eighteen (18) years now.
After signing a contract with Law Professor Adele Bernard to represent me, I recently received a disturbing letter from her after she had my case for two years stating that “I should move on with my life and stop trying to convince people to believe a story that doesn’t ring true.” Sometimes the truth doesn’t sound right just like the cases of Jabbar Collins, David Renta, Marty Tankleff, Derrick Hamilton, Fernando Bermudez, and Jeffery Dskovic and yet because of the persevering fighting these men, they have been exonerated. In the two years that she had my case she hasn’t interviewed not one witness or filed a single motion on my behalf, all I got from her was false hope and as a GODDESS Worshipper I’ve learned to expect anything from anyone because the so-called devil was once an angel. Therefore, with an indefatigable writing discipline, I continue my fight and let the world know about the injustice I am forced to endure!
I have written also Nancy Grace, Sarah Wallace, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Crime TV, WBLS, WBAI, WPIX, EBONY, JET, The New Yorker, Times Magazine, The New York Times, Daily News, Daily Eagle, Daily Challenge, The U.N., Consulate Generals, New York and Washington Post, News Week, News Day, USA Today, New York Law Journal, Village Voice, NAACP, ACLU, Amnesty International, Mr. and Mrs. President of the United STates, the Vice President of the United States, The Pardon Attorney, Justice denied, Commission on Civil Rights, Division of Human Rights, The Borough President of Manhattan, New York Civil Liberties Union, Churches, Office of Court Administration, Federal Police Defenders, Department of State, Homeland Security, Office of Government Ethics, Legal Action Network, Prison Legal News, the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Mayor and Police Commissioner in New York City, the Department of Justice, the FBI, Internal affairs, The Mayor’s office to combat police corruption and even Howard Thompson (help me Howard) and I am still in a cage suffering. Just like a slave, my wrist and ankles have permanent rings around them from handcuffs and shackles! I reflect on certain cases and things aren’t fair for me. Example: Marty Tankleff was accused of killing his own mother and father, witnesses said they saw him do it and he confessed to this crime but without even half the fight I have put forth, he obtained DNA that proves his innocence, yet in my case the District Attorney’s Office has the DNA that will prove my innocence but will not give me the serology and forensic biology examination results of the DNA found at the scene of the crime. If I was white and had money, would I be going through such a fight? I wonder…I have lost countless loved ones, and I was not allowed to go to their funerals or wakes. I have been cut with racers and scalpels, stabbed with knives and ice picks by prisoners.
I have been psychologically tortured, physically beaten, framed with weapons, and sexually assaulted by prison guards. I did over eight (8) years in solitary confinement and I am still standing, I am still strong and I remain unbroken, but how much more can a human being take? Was the Justice System designed to ensure justice or to test a person’s mental endurance?
Will YOU help me get justice?
Dr. Al-fatah Stewart, D.D., MsD.
See Pending Law Suits: 15-CV-9034 Southern District
Court of Claims: 127135, 119864, 119738, 119737
Help Balance The Scales of Justice
Help Free an Innocent Man
Dr. Al-fatah Stewart, D.D., MsD
Sullivan Correctional Facility
P.O. Box- 116
Falls burg NY, 12733