- The key witness who accused Willie Stokes of murder has maintained for 37 years that his testimony against Stokes was a lie, set up by cops who bribed him with sex and drugs.
- Franklin Lee testified against Stokes at his 1984 preliminary hearing after being bribed with a “sex for lies” scheme by homicide detectives Gilbert and Gerrard.
- “How can I have faith in the justice system when they failed us so many times?” Stokes’ sister and 80-year-old mother are trying not to get their hopes up after years of roadblocks.
The Philadelphia Inquirer writes:
“PHILADELPHIA — For 37 years, the key witness who had accused Willie Stokes of murder maintained that his testimony against Stokes was a lie, fabricated by homicide detectives who bribed him with access to sex and drugs.
The witness, Franklin Lee, testified against Stokes at his 1984 preliminary hearing for the murder of Leslie Campbell in North Philadelphia. But at Stokes’ trial, he surprised the prosecutor by recanting. Stokes was convicted anyway, and sentenced to life without parole.
What Stokes would not discover for decades was that the Philadelphia district attorney’s office had then prosecuted Lee for perjury — for lying not at his trial, but at the preliminary hearing. “Defendant said Willie Stokes told him he killed Leslie Campbell,” reads the charging document. It continued: “Defendant knew Willie Stokes had not made such a statement.”
Last week, a federal judge vacated Stokes’ conviction, citing “the Commonwealth’s egregious violation of Petitioner’s constitutional rights, by withholding crucially exculpatory evidence” — Lee’s perjury conviction — and ordered him retried or released…”
See full story here.