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"Clarion Ledger" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "Was Curtis Flowers the only suspect in the Tardy Furniture Store murders?"

06/28/2018

"Clarion Ledger" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "Was Curtis Flowers the only suspect in the Tardy Furniture Store murders?"

Did the DA, law enforcement lie to the judge?

In the Flowers case, Evans and investigators asserted that Flowers was the main suspect from the beginning, including up to his sixth and, so far, final trial.

Judge Joseph Loper asked Evans if the state had any “exculpatory evidence.”

"We have never had any evidence that showed anything other than this defendant's guilt," Evans said.

Evidence of false testimony by prosecution witnesses could potentially get Flowers' conviction overturned, Bennett Gershman, a former prosecutor who now teaches law at Pace University, told the APM reporting team.

And the investigative file not shared with the defense showed investigators had considered Marcus Presley, the gunman in the murders and a string of similar crimes that same summer in neighboring Alabama.

In October 2015, some 20 years after the murders, Katie Ali, one of Flowers’ attorneys in his appeal, recognized him in the photo lineup law enforcement used to implicate Flowers: In those Alabama crimes, store employees were shot execution-style with a .380 handgun — the same type weapon used in the Tardy Furniture Store killings — that might have jammed, and a suspect was wearing Fila shoes — the same type shoe found from a bloody shoe print at the scene. In 1996, Mississippi investigators told the local paper they were looking into a possible connection.

But the investigative file turned over to Flowers’ defense attorneys didn’t mention the possible link. Prosecutors said repeatedly at trial that the only suspect seriously investigated was Flowers.

Law enforcement witnesses had testified under oath in Flowers’ sixth trial that Presley was never a suspect.

Presley wasn’t the only suspect defense attorneys didn’t know investigators had seriously considered.

Read the full article.