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Maryland man freed after serving nearly 17 years for a crime he didn’t commit

After receiving exoneration earlier this week, a Maryland man has been released from prison, after serving nearly two decades for a crime he didn’t commit.

David Morris, 36, was sentenced to life in prison in 2005 for a murder the year before. He was still a minor when he received the sentence. Confidence in the conviction wore thin, and now authorities are sure Morris had nothing to do with the murder.

On December 10, 2004, Mustafa Carter was fatally shot in the head three times. A witness to the crime saw Morris a few blocks away. He was wearing a black coat like that of the murderer. He was arrested just 15 minutes after the murder took place, solely based on the claims of the witness, who was in a moving car in the rain at dusk..

The case went to trial, where Morris was easily convicted. However, absent from the trial was evidence connecting Morris to the crime, as well as a mismatch of DNA taken from the victim’s clothing, proving Morris was not the killer. Regardless, after two days of jury deliberation, Morris was sentenced to life in prison on November 15, 2005.

The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and the University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic took up Morris’ case in 2018. DNA evidence taken from the scene of the crime was tested and did not match that of Morris, leading to the new evidence to be taken to a judge. The City-State Baltimore Crime Integrity Unit also found that the officer who arrested Morris was no longer a credible source.

State’s Attorney for Baltimore City director of communications Zy Richardson said that the “officer was much later convicted of various crimes relating to fraud and placed on [its] ‘Do Not Call’ list, a list that we published last week, where we believe the officer is no longer credible to call as a witness in any case.”

In addition, in his testimony, the witness to the crime made contradictory statements. Baltimore Circuit Judge Charles Peters threw out Morris’ prior conviction, with the charges getting dropped altogether, per the request of prosecutors.

Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Lipscomb, who is the chief of the CIU wished Morris well upon his release.“Mr. Morris, I do wish you well.” He declined to comment at the time of his release, but his family and legal team said he was enjoying being out and eating “real food” again. 

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO NEWS

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