25 Years in Prison….

From the Washington Post:

“Three U.S. servicemen who have been in prison for 25 years for a racially-motivated murder are entitled to a new trial because prosecutors improperly withheld evidence that would have helped the men’s defense, Georgia’s highest court ruled Thursday.

Stanley Jackson, a black man, was fatally shot around 10 p.m. on Jan. 31, 1992, while standing on a corner in a high-crime part of Savannah. Three white servicemen stationed at nearby Fort Stewart — Mark Jason Jones, Kenneth Eric Gardiner and Dominic Brian Lucci — were arrested less than an hour later and charged with murder.

State prosecutors failed to disclose a police report that described a similar racially-motivated incident later that night after they were in custody, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines wrote in a unanimous opinion…

After police records were released in response to a 2010 open records request, the three men challenged their conviction on constitutional grounds. The records showed that prosecutors had failed to give the defense a police report describing an incident about three hours after the men were arrested in which a witness said white men with military style haircuts and semi-automatic weapons drove through a public housing project threatening “to shoot blacks who hung out on street corners.”

In addition to the undisclosed similar incident, the police records also revealed that an eyewitness who had identified two of the three men at trial had told officers before trial that he could not identify the shooters, and that he had been pressured into testifying at trial that he could identify them.

State attorney general’s office spokeswoman Katelyn McCreary said in an email that the office is reviewing the opinion and had no further comment.

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