Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cursed in Life

Cursed in life, Cedric Willis will hopefully be blessed in heaven.  Cedric Willis became Jackson's fifty-third homicide in 2019 yesterday.  JPD said he was shot multiple times yesterday at the corner of Bailey Avenue and Dewitt Street.  However, this was not the first time tragedy visited Willis as he was freed in 2004 after serving 11 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.


Former Jackson Free Press Editor Brian Johnson lamented his death:

Cedric Willis was surely the kindest man who was ever sent to prison. He was one of those men who is naturally gentle, who you would trust with your kids and never worry. One of the tragedies of how terribly we treated him is that he was taken from his son when the boy when he was only an “arm baby,” as Cedric put it. Now he has been taken again.

Why do I say that “we” treated him terribly? Well, Cedric lived on Vardaman, a street still named for one of the most racist governors in Mississippi’s history, though everyone who lives there now is black. He was arrested for crimes he clearly did not commit. I do not mean that it is clear now that he did not commit those crimes. It was clear even then. His DNA did not match the rapist/murderer. But neither the police nor corrupt prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter cared. They wanted a prosecution, and they did not care that they were sending the wrong man to prison.

Now we know that the detective who trumped up evidence against him had a personal dispute with his family. We knew even then that Ed Peters was corrupt. He was eventually disbarred for corruption, but he should have been sent to Parchman, as Cedric was. Bobby DeLaughter did do time for his involvement.

We in Mississippi can sometimes become so cynical about corruption that we ignore it. But there are real victims, victims like Cedric. We all failed him.

Now he has been gunned down by persons unknown, for reasons unknown. We cannot seem to make our city safe, despite the best efforts of well-intentioned people. And so Cedric’s son is once again left without a father, and we are left once again to wonder why one of our best men lost his life at only 44 years of age.

Mr. Johnson penned an outstanding and gut-wrenching article on his ordeal in 2006. The Innocence Project's website reports the infuriating details of his case:

Despite a lack of any physical evidence, that June, Cedric Willis, then just 19 years old, was arrested for two of the robberies. One included the rape of a woman and another included the murder of Carl White, Jr.

These crimes occurred within five days of each other. Ballistics testing showed that the same gun was used in both crimes and in three other robberies within two hours of the murder of Mr. White. The M.O. for each crime was almost identical, and the victims all gave similar descriptions of the perpetrator. The descriptions did not include tattoos, but did include a gold tooth.

Mr. Willis was 70 pounds heavier than the victims’ description of the perpetrator, had arms covered in tattoos and did not have a gold tooth. His photograph was shown to all of the victims based on a tip allegedly received by Jackson police. The victims from both of the crime scenes mistakenly identified him.

However, a year after his arrest, DNA testing performed on the rape kit taken from the rape victim excluded Mr. Willis and her husband.

The State then dropped the rape charges against Mr. Willis and proceeded to try him only for the murder/robbery of the White family. The State asked that the jury not be permitted to hear that DNA had excluded him in a similar crime which was committed by a person matching the description and using the same gun as Mr. White’s killer or that the same gun that killed Mr. White was used in three other robberies within two hours of his murder; robberies to which Mr. Willis could not be connected. The court agreed.

The jury, who heard only the compelling testimony of the murder victim’s family, convicted Mr. Willis and sentenced him to life in prison for the murder, plus 90 years.

IPNO began investigating the case in 2004 and, with volunteer co-counsel, Tom Fortner, won a new trial for Mr. Willis in 2005. With the assistance of volunteer co-counsel, Chris Klotz, the State was persuaded to join IPNO in asking the charges to be dismissed. After nearly 12 years in prison, Mr. Willis walked into the arms of his family and supporters on March 6, 2006.

The two prosecutors who tried Mr. Willis, Ed Peters and Bobby Delaughter, both lost their law licenses due to an unrelated federal criminal investigation. Mr. Delaughter, pled guilty to a federal obstruction of justice charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
JPD has not identified a suspect. 

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's IPNO?

Anonymous said...

Why are the FED's always sweeping up behind the state to get justice?

Anonymous said...

Awful. I had a chance to meet Cedric shortly after his release and was struck by the way his gratitude at being released left no room for anger at having been wrongly imprisoned.

Two things:

1. I'm for more, bigger, and less comfortable prisons to lock away our criminals, but I also have a peculiar belief that only the guilty should be in them.

2. Having met Cedric (though briefly), this one is more than a number to me unlike the other 52 homicides in Jackson this year. I don't like what that says about my attitude toward the others.

Anonymous said...

The malicious prosecutors and detectives should have to do the same time X2 that the innocent defendant served.

Anonymous said...

IPNO = Innocence Project New Orleans

Anonymous said...

This man was first a victim of institutional white supremacy manifest as the corrupt white justice system. His life was taken by someone likely to also be a victim of institutional white supremacy.

Hopefully the new justice system will be fair and dignified while working hard to correct the deep social problems caused generational injustice and white supremacy in Mississippi.

It is a difficult recovery because white supremacists, filled with fear and loathing, mock and deride every small bit of progress that African Americans make in this state.

Anonymous said...

Will the powerful whites who caused so much pain and injustice in Mississippi ever receive any punishment?

Anonymous said...

So are people just driving around Jackson shooting people at random? If this was a targeted murder then what was Cedric involved with?

If individuals truly are just driving around using pedestrians for target practice then add another reason to never enter the city limits.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for those who seek justice on behalf of the least among us. Surely their place in heaven in prepared....... for some of y'all low down mofos tho the future isn't looking so pleasant.

Anonymous said...

"Man's inhumanity to man". Someone should write a book on Ed Peter's, DeLaughter, Judge Russell Moore and the other courthouse ilk that terrorized the black community for years. Remember that Judge Moore (Delaughter's father- in-law at the time, had Byron Delay Beckwith's rifle used to kill Medgar Evers at home in his closet for years. And no doubt this cabal accepted bribes for years to fix outcomes on trials.

Anonymous said...

This is the type of crap white niknar racists need to remember when they open their ignorant mouths. African Americans have struggled with your hatred and persecution for too many generations. And this mans injustice was in the 1990s! They stole 11 years of his life!

Messick said...

Why all the anonymous comments???

Anonymous said...

10:52 You certainly have no problem expressing your indignation and disgust with the racists responsible for damn near every African American problem especially those who "stole 11 years of his life". Can you spare maybe a little of your indignation for whoever stole the rest of his life yesterday? I guess that don't count since it was probably someone also African American.

Ian Word said...

Cedric had 13 years of life after the 11 years he spent wrongly incarcerated. He sadly won’t get a reprieve from this.

Who do you say did the worst to this man? The System or The Street

Anonymous said...

Let me assure that Ed Peters’ corruption was not limited to blacks. He and his fellow corrupt judges controlled cases and rackets regardless of race, gender or any other characterization/ classification. There is a certain holier than thou politician running for a high office that utilized his corruption and judges to the legal advantage of his friends and clients. Watched it from the inside and outside for decades. It was disgusting to watch and to be on the opposite side of when dispensed. The scales of justice were not balanced, they were converted into weapons of life destruction. His partner in crime will be elected with a large margin.

StarRider said...

I am white, as conservative fiscally as they come, and this is exactly why I no longer support the death penalty. Many years ago I knew a guy, he was black, we weren't close friends or anything but I knew him fairly well, he was arrested and charged with a rape/murder, and one of his supposed accomplices confessed. I was shocked when he was charged, it went against everything I knew about this person, but he was convicted, so I guessed maybe I was wrong about him. He was sentenced to life with no parole, and after serving more than 20 years he died of cancer in prison. A few years later, DNA evidence had become a possibility, they still had the evidence, and testing revealed than none of the people convicted in this case matched the physical evidence. His accomplice had long since refuted the confession and said he was beaten by two police officers who were sure they had the right people...turns out they didn't. The man who had committed the crime was a serial rapist/murderer who was in prison for other crimes. Many will say this was the exception, the very rare miscarriage of justice, but even one is too many. Since the advent of DNA testing we see this all too often, people innocent of crimes convicted, and I have absolutely no doubt we have executed innocent people in the past. I don't think in this case there was an intention to charge people they knew were innocent, I think they were just so arrogant that they had the right suspects that they ignored anything that maybe indicated that they might have the wrong people in custody.

Anonymous said...

Once you enter the prison system, you have no rights. Ask Bernie Ebbers.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the judicial system is simple enough: People. They can't be trusted to leave their greed, hatred, fears, superstitions and stupidity behind when they deliberate someone else's guilt or innocence. But we have no one else to trust. We must do everything we can to insure that the system is fair even if we are not. Still sometimes some innocent person is hurt. That is too bad, but it's inevitable. It will never be perfect. Never. Lets try to make the persecution of innocents as rare as possible. That's all we can do.

Anonymous said...

No doubt Peters and Delaughter have been shown to have been corrupt on their charges- Not right though to accuse the other judges of being corrupt as well- I have practiced in Hinds County and I never saw any evidence of any other judges being corrupt which would include Hilburn, Coleman, Gibbs, Banks-

Anonymous said...

Read “Kings of Tort” and “The Fall of the House of Zeus” to find out just how corrupt Ed Peter's, DeLaughter, Dickie Scruggs and other Mississippi trial lawyers were…that got caught.

Don’t expect things to change though because civil liberties in the good ole US of A are all but gone and Alan Dershowitz is about the only other true civil libertarian left here.

So-called Republicans like Ridgeland Mayor Gene Magee, former Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers and other metro area Mayor’s were all too eager to flush property rights down the toilet in exchange for relocating the poor people they hated so much to other areas…all under the heading of BS ordinances.

We also see so-called Republicans for seizing property, i.e. cash, vehicles, etc. from citizens suspected of, but not convicted of a crime.

The ACLU, once a champion of civil liberties has completely sold their soul in exchange for being nothing more than a lobbying tool for the Leftist/Democratic party. Their position on transsexual men, i.e. those with a penis being able to use the bathroom with little girls, proved they are now nothing more than political hacks.

Stomping on the civil liberties of little children is A OK with the ANTI Civil Liberties Union in exchange for “protecting” the “feelings” of 3/10’s of 1% of the US’s population.

After their ridiculous bathrooms position the ACLU proved again they are now the ANTI Civil Liberties Union when they took the position of “bipartisan criticism” (yes they used these exact words) while throwing out the presumption of innocence for Judge Kavanaugh and justified it by also “criticizing” Democrat Bill Clinton. Big problem though because someone failed to tell the knuckleheads at the ACLU that Bill Clinton had not been nominated for the SCOTUS.

Christine Blasey Ford’s story was so full of holes and obvious BS a middle school child could have figured out it was nothing more than a hit job designed to take down a person leftist and the ANTI CLU didn’t want on the SCOTUS.

CB Ford: We went to a party.
How many people were there?
CB Ford: Four boys and a couple of girls.
Really? Sounds more like a meeting or a hook up than a party.

Who owned the house?
CB Ford: I don’t remember.

Where was the house?
CB Ford: I don’t remember.

Who was the other girl?
CB Ford: My lifelong friend Leland Keyser.

Interesting. Your lifelong friend’s attorney just issued this statement:
“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

And where was the ACLU on this obvious hit job? Being political hacks for the Leftist/Democrat party.

We need a new REAL Civil Liberties organization that will fight for the civil liberties of all Americans.

If does not matter of it’s a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or the Boston bomber…the presumption of innocence, free speech, the right to protect one’s self and their family and property should be top priorities for all Americans and we should be holding all of these scum bagged politicians accountable when they try to stomp on our civil liberties.

But don’t expect this to happen anytime soon because politics in America is now a team sport and the end justified the means. It will likely get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

P. S. Where did the this champion of civil liberties Former Jackson Free Press Editor Brian Johnson stand on the presumption of innocence during the Kavanaugh hearings?

Anonymous said...

6:11 The drift of the Supreme Court was much more important to the ACLU and it's patrons than the civil liberties of a single individual. The ACLU is not without it's own political agenda which is revealed under extreme circumstances and a SCOTUS confirmation is extreme. They'll go back to neutral on a less important case.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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