Thursday, July 23, 2020

Catch & Release: Cedric Willis Murder Suspects

Cursed in life, cursed yet again in death, such is the tragic fate of Cedric Willis.  It has been a year since he was gunned down on the streets of Jackson in broad daylight  yet no one has been indicted even though two suspects were arrested for his murder.  

Willis was wrongly convicted of a crime and served 11 years in prison before the Innocence Project obtained his release in 2004.   

JPD tweeted on June 24, 2019:

 JPD is investigating a shooting at the corner of Dewitt St. and Bailey Avenue. occurring just before 1:30 pm. It is confirmed that a male is deceased. Currently, no suspect info or motive is known.
Crime scene. (Credit: WLBT)

JPD arrested Debreco Williams and Corey Brent for Willis's murder on July 12, 2019.  Jackson Municipal Court judge Taurean Buchanan set the bond of both Brent and Williams at $350,000.   Hinds County Court Judge Melvin Priester reduced their bonds to $100,000 and bound them over to the grand jury.

Neither Williams nor Brent has been indicted for the murder of Willis.  They are not in jail.  The District Attorney's office said it had not received the file from JPD and was not aware of the case when contacted.  JPD said it submitted the file to District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith  but his office said it needed to interview some witnesses before it presented the case to the grand jury.  District Owens Jody Owens said his office is moving forward on the case and will prosecute. 

The result is Cedric's shade wanders the earth, the killers freely roam the streets, and justice disappears yet again in Jackson. 

Cedric Willis (Credit: Innocence Project)

 Kingfish note: The Innocence Project tells the horrifying story of how Willis went to prison for a crime he did not commit:

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.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure both are very sorry for what they did, so lets just let it go.

Anonymous said...

Injustices that began under Ed Peters and Bobby Delaughter were compounded under Robert Schuler Smith. That seems be a pretty common theme.

Anonymous said...

What if these deaths were so rare that they got national media attention? Wouldn't that be a pleasant world. Unfortunately, this savagery is endemic.

Anonymous said...

Next!
And there will be a next by sunrise Monday.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug.

Anonymous said...

Next

Anonymous said...

So sad. A life wasted.

Anonymous said...

Dammit! Now I'll be awake all night trying to figure out what the hell any of this has to do with Peters and DeLaughter. Summa you people pull the weirdest shit straight out of thin air!

PittPanther said...

The absolute worst part? The real rapist and murderer was never caught, and has been walking the streets of Jackson for decades.

Anonymous said...

8:38: Ed Peters and Bobby Delaughter prosecuted Cedric Willis, which is set forth in the last paragraph of the post to which you commented. You can also read about it at the link below.

https://ip-no.org/what-we-do/free-innocent-prisoners/client-profiles/cedric-willis/

-1:21

Anonymous said...

So these two individuals were arrested and charged without apparently any evidence whatsoever?

Anonymous said...

Question: Where is the Black Lives Matter congregation?

a) Hooping and hollering on social media, masquerading as psuedo-activists seeking attention?
b) Creating T-shirts to sell for profit
c) looting

Tlaw61 said...

I taught Cedric Willis when he was in 6th grade. I remember well when Frank Melton came to a meeting of students at Raines Elem and called Cedric out by name. Within days, if not the next day Raines was covered in gang grafitti. Vivid memory. I remember Melton driving his huge flashy car through the playground to survey the damage. Cedric was probably 12 yrs old. He used to pick up and carry his little sister or niece home in his arms after school.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 4:18. I believe the damage to the people of Jackson that was wrought by Frank Melton cannot be overstated. He basically co-opted street gangs as his own personal security force. For an in-depth look at former-Mayor Melton, see the following feature by the Jackson Free Press (heresy!):

https://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2008/may/21/a-tangled-web-the-mysteries-of-frank-melton/

Kingfish said...

Not to mention he was a drug dealer and had certain um, proclivities.

Funny how the yeuts he took in got into more trouble after they got around him.

Anonymous said...

Melton definitely played both sides of the fence. God bless the dead, but I’m speaking truth from first-hand knowledge.

Anonymous said...

What's the name of the judge that Melton was caught with out at the spillway?

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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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