JACE COLBY WASHINGTON
On May 6, 2007, Detectives in Slidell Louisiana arrested me for a crime I did not commit. At 19 years old, black, poor, and uneducated, I was just another statistic in the eyes of the detectives. So they disregarded my consistent plea of innocence and my requests for an attorney. One detective told me my right to an attorney was non of his concern because his office knew all the public defenders in town.
I was transferred to St. Tammy Parish for booking under a first-degree murder charge. There, they placed me in solitary confinement for 90 days due to the classification of my crime. In those 90 days, I was beaten while in handcuffs, my belongings were stolen and I was denied access to a shower for a week.
Later, I learned my crime had been modified to second-degree murder and so I was released from Solitary Confinement.
I also learned that about a week before my arrest, there had been a robbery in a mobile home, and one of the victims of the robbery had been shot and killed by one of the robbers. Edric Cooper, who was one of the robbers told officers that I too was involved in the robbery and was with him in the mobile home during the robbery.
But I was not in the mobile home with Copper that day. Neither was I aware of the robbery. Glen Carter, who was the shooter in the robbery, confessed to officers that only he and Cooper committed the robbery.
DNA evidence, in-person purchase receipts, my phone records, eye witness testimony, as well as other evidence, proved that I could not have been involved in the robbery. But Cooper was desperate for a 12-year sentence (instead of life), and prosecutors wanted a conviction so when the evidence exculpated me, they allowed Cooper to change his story.
The only piece of evidence that linked me to the crime was Cooper’s testimony. And Cooper was allowed to change his sworn testimonies, with no consequence of perjury, over and over again until he could successfully incriminate me in the crime.
My public defender offered little to no help. She consistently pressured me to plead guilty. But I refused to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit.
It has been almost 14 years now, and I am still fighting for my freedom. And I will continue to fight because I know the truth is on my side.
As challenging as the past 14 years has been, I have used the time in prison as an opportunity to improve myself. I earned a GED, an associate degree, paralegal certification, and last year I graduated from Ashland University in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in business administration.
Help Me In My Fight.
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