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How secret evidence led to a life sentence; When a Baltimore prosecutor asked jurors to convict Antoine Pettiford

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It was a brazen slaughter on an east-side street. Baltimore prosecutor Nancy Beth Pollack told the jurors she knew who pulled the trigger and that by the end of the trial, so would they. The evidence homicide detectives pieced together pointed to one man.

Antoine Jerome Pettiford.

"I'm confident, because of this evidence," she said, "you will find this defendant guilty."

What jurors didn't know that day in Baltimore Circuit Court was that evidence had been kept secret -- material that pinned the slaying on other suspects. Even though the law requires prosecutors to disclose evidence, critical documents were never provided to Pettiford or his attorney.

At 24, Pettiford, a petty drug peddler with a long criminal past, was convicted and sent to prison for the rest of his life.

But two years after the slaying, some of the secret evidence surfaced in U.S. District Court, leading to the conviction of another man for the same murder. It is now clear that Pettiford was imprisoned because of questionable conduct by prosecutors and homicide detectives.

The Pettiford case is part of a pattern in Baltimore, where prosecutors and police have ignored state and federal laws by failing to turn over evidence to those accused of crimes.

The pattern is confirmed by a review of criminal cases and a computer analysis of court records by The Sun; interviews with defense lawyers, judges and prosecutors; and a federally funded study of problems at the courthouse.

Not revealing evidence has led to wrongful convictions, trial delays and freedom for suspected criminals. Over the past two years, charges against at least eight defendants -- including attempted murder and cocaine trafficking -- have been dismissed because prosecutors violated laws requiring the disclosure of evidence, known as "discovery."

In the case against Pettiford, a series of police reports was never disclosed, including a witness statement that identified other suspects and provided a detailed description of the man who later pleaded guilty to the murder.

Why that statement didn't surface for nearly four years is a question that pits prosecutors against police. The homicide detective told a judge under oath that he gave the statement to Pollack. The prosecutor said that she never saw it and that that's why it was never disclosed. Without the benefit of the statement and other evidence, Pettiford and his attorney didn't have a chance.

To this day, Pettiford denies any involvement in the slaying of Oscar Edward Lewis Jr. On April 30, he agreed to take a polygraph examination. To conduct the exam, The Sun hired James K. Murphy, chief of the FBI's polygraph division in Washington until his retirement this year.

In the three-hour test, Murphy asked Pettiford whether he shot Lewis, planned the killing or was present during it. He answered "no" to each question.

"Mr. Pettiford was truthful when responding to the above listed relevant questions asked during the polygraph examination," Murphy wrote in a report.

After the exam, Murphy said he doubted Pettiford's guilt.

"If I was running this investigation, I would tell the agents to go back to the streets," he said. "They got the wrong guy."

A violent dance

The case against Pettiford unfolded five years ago. It was close to 5:30 on a Saturday afternoon when a black Mazda RX7 stopped on Milton Avenue in East Baltimore. Dante Lamont Todd, then 22, a tall drug dealer with movie-star good looks, hopped out and said goodbye to his best friend of 19 years, Oscar Lewis.

Lewis pulled up to the stoplight at Preston and Gay streets. On the corner, inside Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, a choir was rehearsing for Sunday services. While Lewis waited for the light to change, two men ran up. They pointed a MAC 11 machine pistol and a 9 mm handgun through the passenger window and opened fire.

As the bullets slammed into Lewis, he jerked and jumped in the driver's seat, his body performing a violent dance. After firing a dozen times into the Mazda, the two gunmen ran off, disappearing down a side street.

Minutes later, Todd's pager went off. His girlfriend told him that Lewis had been shot. He ran to the intersection and watched medics pull his best friend from the car. Seven weeks after turning 22, Lewis was dead.

Todd knew the bullets were also meant for him. He believed he knew who was to blame. Within 24 hours, Todd provided Baltimore homicide detectives with details about what prompted the killing.

But the evidence would stay secret for years.

Closing a case

Bobby Patton, a Baltimore homicide detective with street smarts and a reputation for closing cases, began gathering clues to the April 30, 1994, slaying. He found that shell casings recovered from a robbery and shooting six days earlier near Volcano's, an East Baltimore nightclub, matched casings collected from the murder scene.

Another clue came two weeks later. A police officer spotted a group of men in Collington Square Park. The men ran but left behind a MAC 11. Tests showed that the gun was used in the Volcano's robbery. It was also used to kill Lewis.

For detectives, the link became the core of their murder case.

They discovered that a West Baltimore man, Darren Warren, had been charged in the Volcano's robbery. Detectives interviewed Warren, demanding to know who was with him. Warren said he was with three men -- including Pettiford, who had a MAC 11.

The detectives theorized that because Pettiford had a MAC 11 the night of the robbery, he could have used the gun six days later to kill Lewis.

They tested their theory by placing Pettiford's picture in photo lineup cards, showing them to witnesses in the robbery and the murder. Warren identified him. So did Tracy Jordan, a woman who reported seeing two men running from the murder scene.

Next, the detectives interviewed Rory Harris, a man who saw the murder from his car 10 feet away. Harris said Pettiford's face "stood out" in the photo lineup. Another witness to the robbery said Pettiford "resembles" the man he saw with a MAC 11.

With the MAC 11 and the witness identifications, the detectives charged Pettiford with first-degree murder on Aug. 30, 1994.

'Let me tell you a little story'

At 23, Pettiford, a short, slight man with a childlike smile, had already been in a bunch of trouble. Pettiford, the youngest of six, and his family bounced between Brooklyn, N.Y., and Baltimore. Expelled from Southern High for fighting, he worked as a housekeeper at the Marriott Inner Harbor Hotel before being fired for showing up late.

Out of work, Pettiford began to ply one of the most lucrative trades in his neighborhood near Johns Hopkins Hospital -- selling cocaine. He became a familiar figure to police. Between 1985 and 1994, officers arrested him 14 times on drug and other charges.

But now, sitting across from two homicide detectives, he was facing his most serious charge yet.

Patton explained his theory of the case to Pettiford.

"Let me tell you a little story about the gun that is going to shock you," the detective began. "That gun that was used [at Volcano's] was the same gun that was used to kill Oscar Lewis on Preston and Gay Street.

"What do you think about that?"

"What do I think about that?" Pettiford asked.

"Yeah," Patton said. "So it was your buddies that was involved in the shooting on Greenmount Avenue by Volcano's, and the same gun that was used to shoot that guy up there on Greenmount was the same gun that killed the guy on Preston and Gay Street, Oscar Lewis."

"Who is Oscar Lewis?" Pettiford asked.

The detectives were confident they had the right man.

A trial and tribulations

Facing a possible life sentence, Pettiford and his attorney, Walter F. Balint, prepared a defense. Balint took statements from Pettiford's relatives -- alibi witnesses who said Pettiford was attending a birthday party for his older brother at the time of the killing.

Balint also met with Pollack, the prosecutor assigned to handle the case, then a seven-year veteran of the state's attorney's office.

Before the trial, Balint asked Pollack to reveal the evidence against Pettiford. He also asked her to hand over any material that might show that his client didn't commit the crime. Pollack gave Balint some documents.

From the start of the trial on June 14, 1995, the case was shaky.

Someone at the Police Department mistakenly destroyed the MAC 11. Then Harris, who saw the murder from 10 feet away, testified that Pettiford was "too short" to be either of the killers.

On the third day of the trial, Warren, the man who gave police the breakthrough statement that put the MAC 11 in Pettiford's hands, testified that he lied to police. He said he told detectives what they wanted to hear.

"You never saw a MAC 11?" Pollack asked him.

"No, ma'am," Warren said.

The case continued to falter. Jordan, the woman who picked Pettiford as one of the men running from the scene, testified that he did not appear to be the same man.

Toward the end of the trial, Pollack called a witness who would save the case. Lois Ward -- Jordan's older sister -- was a convicted thief who kept quiet about what she saw for 11 months after the murder. Ward told jurors that she had been afraid to come forward.

She testified that she saw two men running from the murder scene.

"Do you see either one of those people in the courtroom today?" Pollack asked.

"Right there," Ward said, pointing to Pettiford.

Pollack rested her case. On June 20, 1995, the jury found Pettiford guilty of first-degree murder.

'I'm the jury now'

Pettiford had one chance to avoid a life sentence -- Tracy Jordan. The witness who had identified Pettiford in a photo lineup returned for his sentencing two months later to tell Circuit Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe that she was certain he was not the same man.

"I'm here today because I believe I made an honest mistake," Jordan told the judge.

Pettiford's lawyer asked for a new trial.

"No, I'm the jury now," said Bothe, who built a reputation as a "hanging judge" before being denied reappointment to the bench that year. "As far as I'm concerned, the trial is over. I don't care if every witness that appeared in the trial -- including the detectives -- come back here and say it was all a farce and it was all false and it was all wrong.

"I think justice was done."

Pettiford pleaded for mercy.

"Please don't give me life plus 20 for something I don't know nothing about," he asked the judge. "I don't even know the man. I never met him. They don't know why he got killed. I don't know."

The judge gave Pettiford life in prison, plus 20 years.

After the sentencing, Todd, Lewis' best friend, was watching the news. The TV station reported that Pettiford had been convicted of killing Lewis. Todd was mystified. He thought he had given the detectives the information they needed to solve the case and bring the killers to justice.

"I said, 'Who is Antoine Pettiford?'"

A federal case

Hope for Pettiford began with a routine drug case in federal court.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were investigating a New York-Baltimore ring. But as the suspects headed to trial, the case turned into a full-blown murder investigation.

Two key figures in the ring said they had information about Lewis' death.

They said Demetrius Bernard Smith, a ruthless drug trafficker known as "Meat," wanted to kill Todd. Smith blamed Todd for stealing money from the ring.

It was simple street justice, they said. Lewis was slain while serving as Todd's bodyguard.

In May 1996, the murder trial began in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. One of Smith's former drug partners who became a cooperating witness coolly described how Smith arranged the killing.

The witness testified that Smith suspected Todd of stealing money from the ring. The dispute escalated into gunplay. One day, with Lewis behind the wheel, Todd fired from a car at Smith's green Acura Legend.

Smith exacted revenge.

On the evening of the murder, Smith boasted about the killing at his girlfriend's East Baltimore home.

"He said, 'I had caught Oscar at an intersection, and the boys jumped out of the car and ran over to the car and started shooting,'" said the witness, John McLain.

"What else did he tell you?" a federal prosecutor asked.

"That he could see him jumping as the bullets were hitting him."

A question of guilt

After the insurmountable testimony, and facing the likelihood of a life sentence, Smith pleaded guilty in the midst of the trial to the murder. Smith then had some unsettling news regarding the man who had been convicted of the same crime.

"Smith sent word through his attorney that Pettiford was innocent and that he did not even know Pettiford," federal prosecutors wrote. "Smith then refused to cooperate in any way."

Federal prosecutors relayed the information to Pollack. But because Smith refused to say who pulled the trigger, Pollack continued to believe that she had prosecuted the right man. Federal prosecutors were not so sure.

"There's some question as to whether Mr. Pettiford is guilty," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Harding told a federal judge in July 1996, requesting a long sentence for Smith because he refused to name the gunmen. "None of the government witnesses knew of Pettiford, didn't even know who he was, and the testimony in the state trial was not particularly compelling."

Harding told the judge that he believed he knew the name of one shooter -- Duraye "Money" Cole.

"There may be a man who is doing time in this case who shouldn't be doing time, and there is also a shooter out there who could be brought to justice, and maybe another shooter as well," Harding said. "If Antoine Pettiford is innocent, then there are two shooters out there who need to be brought to justice."

U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Smith to 41 years. The judge gave him a year to cooperate in exchange for a shorter sentence. Without saying a word, Smith left for federal prison.

A new lawyer

The events in federal court provided renewed optimism for Pettiford and the new lawyer his family hired, Michelle M. Martz, a young attorney with a penchant for silk scarves and a naivete that made her fearless. By the time she took the case in 1997, she had been out of law school three years.

Martz began her investigation. She interviewed Pettiford. She collected papers from Pettiford's first attorney. She reviewed the federal court file. She spoke to Smith in prison.

She also asked Pollack to disclose her prosecution papers, but Pollack refused. Martz crafted another strategy. She submitted a public records request with the Baltimore Police Department to examine Patton's homicide file.

When Martz received the detective's file, she was astonished by what she found. It included:

* A police report written the day after the killing saying Todd, Lewis' best friend, wanted to talk to detectives about the murder.

* A police bulletin issued by Patton three days after the slaying listing a man known as Meat as a suspect in the murder. The bulletin asked officers with any information to contact Patton or his partner.

* A statement from Harris, the witness who was 10 feet from the slaying. He identified Cole, the man federal prosecutors named as a possible shooter, as one of the men he saw in a blue car moments before the murder. He said the men appeared to have guns.

* A police report written three months after the murder -- and a month before Pettiford was charged -- naming Cole as a suspect.

None of the records listed Meat's full name, Demetrius Smith. But for Martz, it was proof that police and prosecutors suspected that others might have committed the murder -- two years before the evidence surfaced in federal court.

On Nov. 7, 1997, Martz appealed Pettiford's conviction. She argued that Pollack withheld evidence that could have helped the defense. Still, she knew she needed more information to erase the conviction.

Believing that sealed grand jury testimony from the federal case might help, she asked U.S. prosecutors to release the transcript of a key witness who was scheduled to testify about the murder before Smith pleaded guilty.

Martz also pleaded with Pollack to reconsider the case.

"Everyone that I have spoken to, except for you, is willing to consider this case with an open mind," Martz wrote to Pollack in March 1998. "Nancy, please, sit down with me and discuss this case. I truly believe that Mr. Pettiford may have been wrongfully convicted.

"It is not a matter of blame, but a matter of justice."

The day Pettiford's appeal for a new trial was to begin, federal prosecutors agreed to unseal the testimony of the key witness, Robert Terrero, a New Yorker known as "Roberto" who sold drugs with Smith.

Martz was floored by what he told the grand jury.

Terrero's testimony strongly supported what Dante Todd told homicide detectives the day after Lewis was killed.

According to Terrero, Todd had been entrusted with $4,500 from the drug ring. Todd stashed the money in his grandmother's basement and someone stole it. There was a gunfight between Todd and Smith, the man known as Meat.

Smith wanted to retaliate. He and three others -- including Cole -- gathered up guns on the porch of Smith's girlfriend's house. The four men then climbed into a blue car and drove away.

Twenty minutes later, Smith returned and bragged about the brutality of the murder, saying Lewis was "dancing inside of the car" as the bullets struck his body.

It was essentially the same story McLain told jurors during Smith's federal trial. It was powerful material for Martz, and it seemed to support Pettiford's claim of innocence. But what Martz needed to prove was this: Prosecutors and police had the same evidence before Pettiford was convicted -- and they kept it secret.

'Wait a minute'

Martz knew that documents had been withheld. But she could not predict the events that took place in Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller's courtroom beginning on May 28, 1998.

Arguing for a new trial, Martz called Pettiford's first lawyer to testify. She showed him the reports from the homicide file. He said he had never seen any of them before.

"The outcome of this case may have been substantially different had I had that information," Balint testified.

The judge questioned Pollack, asking her whether she had re-examined the case after finding out about the federal probe. Pollack said that she and her supervisors spoke with federal prosecutors and that their case identified only one shooter. Pettiford could have been the other, she argued.

Pollack then called the lead homicide detective to testify.

The detective stunned the courtroom. Patton testified that Todd, Lewis' best friend, had given a three-page statement the day after the murder. He said Todd told him that he owed money to a New York drug dealer named Roberto Terrero and that Terrero's partner, a man nicknamed Meat, had threatened to kill him.

Todd's statement was never disclosed during Pettiford's trial. It was not included as part of the homicide file provided to Martz. And two days into the hearing for a new trial, the judge was just learning that Todd had spoken to homicide detectives.

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute," Heller said, her voice rising. "You took information from Dante Todd?"

"Yes, ma'am, your honor," Patton testified.

"And Dante Todd told you the following: That Meat and Terrero were stashing money in a home as part of a drug organization?" the judge asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Patton said.

"A large amount was taken from that organization?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And Meat and Terrero threatened to kill Dante Todd because they thought he was responsible for taking it?"

"He was supposed to watch the money, and an amount of money was gone," Patton said.

"Right. And Todd and Oscar Lewis were associates?" Heller asked.

"Yes, ma'am."

"And so this would, in fact, supply a motive for the killing of Oscar Lewis, would it not?" the judge asked.

"Yes, ma'am."

Patton had another revelation. He said he provided the reports to Pollack.

"Prior to the trial?" Heller asked.

"Yes, ma'am."

The judge demanded to see Todd's statement. Patton reached into a folder and handed it over.

In addition, the statement showed that Todd gave detectives descriptions of Smith and Terrero. Todd told detectives where Meat worked and the type of car he drove, a "money-green" Acura Legend. He also told them where Terrero and his family had lived.

"This is quite a remarkable statement," the judge said.

The judge then told Pollack that she could no longer represent the state because her alleged misconduct had become the focus of the case. Heller suggested that someone else from the state's attorney's office take over.

"I don't think anyone could review this statement and say: 'It should not have been disclosed to the defense,'" the judge said. "I've been told by the detective sitting on the stand it was disclosed to you, and that is the whole issue. A man who is serving life plus 20 years consecutive is asking for a new trial based on the fact that certain information wasn't turned over to his attorney."

Pollack stood silently at the prosecution table.

"The issue becomes then, why you didn't turn it over," Heller said.

Pollack requested a postponement.

'Thank you'

For prosecutors, it was too late to salvage the case.

If Heller wrote a public opinion outlining legal violations, it could be damaging to Pollack, her supervisors and her office. A new trial, with the secret documents taking center stage, could also result in an acquittal.

On the other side, Pettiford desperately wanted to leave prison. By then, he had been behind bars for nearly four years. He believed that he had been railroaded once by the prosecution team. He feared it could happen again. With court delays pushing back trial dates for years, Pettiford didn't want to wait any longer.

On Aug. 21, 1998, Martz and Pollack returned to court. They announced that they had reached an agreement. Pollack admitted evidence was not disclosed. She agreed the first-degree murder conviction should be erased. And she conceded that Pettiford should receive a new trial.

The prosecutor offered Pettiford a path to freedom: If he took a plea deal that day, he could be back in East Baltimore that night.

Martz urged Pettiford to clear his name with a new trial. But Pettiford refused. He entered an Alford plea, allowing a manslaughter conviction to be placed on his record while still maintaining his innocence.

Before leaving the courtroom, Pettiford turned to the judge.

"I would like to thank you," he said, "for agreeing with the plea and everything, and letting me go home with my family. I thank you very much."

After the fall

What took place in the case continues to have repercussions for nearly everyone involved.

The Sun recently reviewed the homicide file and found that even more evidence was kept secret from Pettiford and his attorneys. Not only did Todd give detectives the three-page statement, but he continued to provide them with information for at least three months after the murder.

The file shows that Todd gave detectives an address for Smith -- the same address police had when they arrested him before the murder on unrelated charges. Todd also gave them the names of three other men he believed to be participants in the murder, including Cole.

Pollack did not respond to phone messages or a letter hand-delivered to her office seeking an interview. In a written response to questions by The Sun, Deputy State's Attorney Haven H. Kodeck did not address his office's handling of the case. But he disputed Patton's sworn testimony that the detective had provided the prosecutor with Todd's three-page statement.

"Ms. Pollack indicates that she did not have that statement in 1994, and that it was not in her file in 1998," Kodeck wrote.

Patton testified in 1998 that he provided his entire file, including Todd's statement, to Pollack before the murder trial. Patton insisted in a recent interview that he gave the material to Pollack and that he thought she disclosed it to Pettiford's lawyer.

"I guess they want to play a pissing match with us," the detective said. "She got the statement. She got it."

Patton offered varying explanations for why he did not focus his investigation on the information Todd provided.

Initially, Patton said Todd disappeared after giving him the statement May 1, 1994, the day after the murder. "Once we talked to him, we never talked to him again," the detective said.

Patton was then shown a report documenting that he spoke with Todd on July 7, 1994, and again July 16, 1994 -- more than two months after the murder.

Confronted with the contradiction, the detective had a different account.

"Well, I really don't remember," he said. "There was a big gap from the first time we spoke to him to the second time."

Patton then said he suspected that Todd might have been involved in the murder and wasn't sure whether he could be trusted. "He's like other drug dealers," he said. "They make terrible witnesses."

The detective stood by the case.

"Pettiford is guilty till the cows come home," Patton said.

To this day, Smith, the man known as Meat, has refused to cooperate and name the men who shot Lewis. He now denies any involvement. In a May 24 interview at a maximum-security prison in Beaumont, Texas, Smith said he pleaded guilty to avoid a life sentence.

Smith was shown the police reports and witness statements generated within days of the murder that named him as a suspect. He became quiet as he reviewed the amount of information detectives had collected.

"If they had that much on me," he asked, "why didn't the police arrest me sooner?"

Smith said no one from the Police Department ever interviewed him about the homicide. And no one from the department ever tried to contact him.

Cole, the man identified as a possible gunman, was never charged with the murder. Currently serving an 11-year sentence on drug distribution and weapons charges, he did not respond to a certified letter requesting an interview.

Todd, Lewis' best friend, remains bitter.

"It really bothers me," he said. "Everything I gave them, and all the things that everyone else gave, it just fit like a jigsaw puzzle. It seems like this case was a whole lot tighter than the one they put together.

"I'm sitting here, trying to understand the reason they strayed away from this."

Today, Pettiford is back behind bars, recently charged with selling drugs and trying to flee from police, his 16th arrest in the past 14 years. Sitting in jail, unable to make bail, Pettiford insisted he had nothing to do with the slaying, and he questioned why the evidence naming other suspects in the murder was kept secret for so long.

"If you had all this stuff, why did you want me?" Pettiford asked. "I would just like to ask them why."

Jessamy: No comment

Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy declined to discuss evidence problems in criminal cases. She also did not respond to written questions about how the cases were handled, whether prosecutors were disciplined, and what steps, if any, she has taken to correct the situation.

Instead, she directed her lieutenant to respond. Deputy State's Attorney Haven H. Kodeck said mistakes are made because the state's attorney's office handles thousands of cases each year.

"We are in no way diminishing the importance of discovery in the fair treatment of all defendants," he said. "We recognize that defendants are entitled to be prepared for trial and have an opportunity to respond to the charges."

Building a questionable case

April 30, 1994

Oscar Edward Lewis Jr., 22, is shot to death in a car at Preston and Gay streets. A friend, Dante Lamont Todd, had left the car moments earlier. One gun used is a MAC 11 machine pistol. The next day, Todd tells police he knows who did it.

May 1994

Police find one of the murder weapons in Collington Square Park. The MAC 11 (at right) is the same gun used in a robbery and shooting near Volcano's nightclub.

July 1994

A suspect in the Volcano's robbery, Darren Warren, tells police three men accompanied him that night. He identifies one of them as Antoine Jerome Pettiford, who had a MAC 11.

August 1994

Police believe the MAC 11 links Pettiford to the Lewis murder. They test their theory by putting Pettiford's mug in photo lineups. Police say two witnesses placed him at the scene of the killing. Pettiford is charged with first-degree murder.

April 1995

To prepare for trial, Pettiford's attorney, Walter F. Balint, asks prosecutor Nancy Beth Pollack to hand over evidence in the case. Some documents are disclosed.

June 1995

The trial begins. Two witnesses say Pettiford might not be the man they saw. Warren, the robbery suspect, testifies he lied about the MAC 11. Lois Ward, the prosecution's star witness, points out Pettiford. On June 20, a jury finds him guilty.

August 1995

At the sentencing, a witness, Tracy Jordan, says she is certain Pettiford is not the man she saw. Balint asks for a new trial. Circuit Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe is not swayed. She sentences Pettiford to life in prison, plus 20 years.

1997

Through a public records request, Pettiford's new attorney, Michelle M. Martz, reviews the police file on the Lewis murder. In November, she appeals her client's conviction, arguing that prosecutors withheld evidence that could have helped the defense.

1996

Federal agents investigating a drug ring find information about the Lewis murder. A drug dealer, Demetrius Bernard Smith, aka "Meat," pleads guilty to the murder. He refuses to name the gunmen but declares that Pettiford was not involved.

May 1998

Arguments begin for a new trial. The lead homicide detective testifies that Todd had given him a statement a day after the shooting. In it, Todd implicated a man nicknamed Meat in the murder. The statement was never disclosed to the defense.

August 1998

Pollack admits evidence was not disclosed and offers to release Pettiford if he accepts a manslaughter conviction. Martz urges her client to press for a new trial. Pettiford agrees to the prosecutor's offer.

April 1999

Pettiford takes a polygraph test at the request of The Sun. When asked whether he shot Lewis or participated in the murder, he answers "no." The administrator of the exam concludes that Pettiford is telling the truth.

Pub Date: 07/11/99

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