Final Justice for Lathierial Boyd
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” Robert Francis Kennedy
Imagine. Just for a moment, close your eyes and simply imagine. You are a young 24 yr. old black man living in Chicago, standing at the precipice of your adult life with a promising future and career. You are at your Sister's home eating pizza and watching a basketball game while, wholly unbeknownst to you, a murder is taking place 23 miles away. A murder that, in the blink of an eye, will alter your life and destiny. Forever. Your life, as you know it, is over.
This is the story of Lathierial Boyd.
1990 Chicago, Illinois: Lathierial Boyd was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 82 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. The state alleged that Lathierial Boyd killed one man and paralyzed another because of a longstanding drug debt. Nine out of the nine eyewitnesses, who viewed the police lineup, could not identify anyone as the killer. After the lineup, when the police pointed to Lathierial as the suspect, one of the nine eye witnesses emphatically stated, "You have the wrong man!" Her statement was never introduced as evidence and was withheld from the defense.
Additionally, Lathierial was wholly excluded from any forensic evidence left at the scene where the crime occurred. The state used as evidence a license plate and a pager number that they claimed belonged to Lathierial. Twelve years later, after WGN News Chicago aired their investigation into Lathierial's case, this same evidence was ruled as false and recorded as fact by the court of appeals during an evidentiary hearing. State DMV records excluded Lathierial from ever possessing the license plate the state claimed belonged to him. Additionally, the pager company stated that no such number ever belonged to Lathierial.
How then could Lathierial have been convicted of this crime? The answers are many, as are the questions as to how this travesty of justice could have occurred. Unequivocally, the convicting evidence came from the emotionally charged bedside testimony of the paralyzed victim Ricky Warner.
Ricky was shot in the back of the neck from behind and rendered unconscious before his body fell to the ground. Still, he testified that he saw Lathierial shoot him. How is this physically possible? Conversely, the nine other eyewitnesses wholly contradicted Ricky's account of the events that night.
When the police initially questioned Ricky Warner in the hospital, he stated "I did not see who shot me." Three days later he changed his story. A nurse in the hospital who was a witness to Ricky's original statement to the police signed an affidavit stating, "Ricky told the police he did not see who shot him." Almost unbelievably, Ricky Warner's brother James Fleming also later signed an affidavit telling the world that his brother lied. That his brother told him he didn’t see the shooter.
In summation, Lathierial’s conviction was based on the emotional testimony of a man who had just been shot and uncorroborated evidence.
Lathierial was deprived of his constitutional right to due process when the state failed to disclose the victim's original statement that he did not know who shot him. The uncorroborated evidence coupled with the two sworn affidavits that directly refute the victim's entire testimony destroys the basis of the conviction.
The original trial's verdict and sentence rested solely upon one man. The now retired Judge Singer, who presided over the original "Bench Trial" was interviewed by WGN News after their re-investigation twelve years later who stated "I can only go by the evidence that is presented to me by the prosecution and defense."
In order to prevent the further miscarriage of justice, these exceptional circumstances require independent objective forensic re-evaluation and close scrutiny of all the evidence presented to determine whether the arrest and subsequent charges were even warranted.
Navigating through the complex and exhaustive labyrinth of procedural law has been futile and to date has not produced any lasting results in Lathierial's case. Since the originally flawed trial, all of the lower and upper (State and Federal) court proceedings and subsequent rulings have stemmed from the original conviction. We believe that a new trial presenting the recently uncovered factually supported evidence and newly obtained affidavits, conducted with a jury of his peers, will undoubtedly "right" this gross injustice that has stolen Lathierial's life from him.
We cannot change the past, but together we can create the future anew.
Please sign our petition for a new trial and join us in supporting
“Final Justice for Lathierial."
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