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DiSabatino Cold Case Homicide Arrest In Newark Delaware Raises More Questions Than Answers

Local media in Delaware published a recent article naming a suspect in a homicide cold case that occurred on November 12, 2012 when a University of Delaware Student Peter Disabatino, a 20 year old Appoquinimink High School graduate was gunned down. The article published January 30, 2024 stated that a New Castle County grand jury indicted 33 year old Alondo Dale on first degree murder charges for the Disabatino killing.

On Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, at around 9:20 p.m., officers responded to the area of Studio Green Apartments on Thorn Lane in reference to a shooting. Authorities found Peter DiSabatino on the sidewalk with apparent gunshot wounds, and he was transported to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

According to police and earlier news reports about the killing, Disabatino was in his apartment at 211 Thorn Lane with friends, when someone he knew texted him to come outside to meet him. Investigators at the time believed that he was set-up, and when he walked outside, he was shot and killed. The suspects in the shooting are described as two black men. One was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and the other was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

In all of the time since police have been investigating this homicide, the identity of the perpetrators or at least a suspect had never been established until now. More than 11 years after this heinous criminal act, the police some how magically pulled the name of Disabatino’s killer out of a hat, or are they even certain that Dale is actually the correct suspect?

You see, Dale is not the first person to be charged with murder in DiSabatino’s death. Another man was quietly indicted on a first-degree murder charge following the killing in November 2021 only to have charges against him dropped on the eve of his trial last month, according to the news article. A November court filing by prosecutors indicated they were having trouble making a “potential witness” cooperate in the case, the article read.

The court document also revealed that the witness apparently was engaged in a brush with the law themself. The documents allegedly stated that the witness was key to the case and asked the court to ensure the witness’s appearance by placing a “high cash bail” of $100,000 on the witness. That’s an interesting fact in this case since the discovery that has resulted in first degree murder charges against Dale took over a decade to materialize. Where has this person been for over a decade?

It’s not difficult to see a troubling piece of discovery developing here in the People’s case from the gate. You have a “potential witness” that is being difficult, and you solicit the courts to basically hold them hostage with a high bail for a crime, to help prosecutors make charges stick in a murder rap that another person was previously charged with, and then subsequently had the charges dropped? Don’t tell us that the proposed “potential witness” was the exact same person that charges were recently dropped for in the same murder case.

Based on what’s been revealed so far about this cold case, that’s only a portion of the case that appears to be problematic. It’s simply incredible that while there has been no physical evidence in the case for years, barring a text message from the friend that cops say set Disabatino up, investigators were somehow able to identify a subject with an extremely vague description of the alleged assailants.

This has to mean that the “potential witness” will place the gun in Dale’s hand at the crime scene or provide other testimony that would act as fruit of a poisonous tree which ultimately led to Dale being named the primary suspect. However, prosecutors will have to overcome the mysterious manner in which the discovery of the “potential witness” came about. Remember, a cold case unit revisited the record in the case and re-questioned witnesses.

A conscious person can only ask the obvious questions considering these turns of events that took over a decade to uncover. Did the original investigators miss something? Were they incompetent? Did one of the original witnesses change their story or suddenly have some sort of memory improvement while being interrogated by police officials?

Either way the witness testimony is mere circumstantial evidence that will probably be a hard sell even for the most pro-prosecution jury if the witness was charged with the Disabatino killing or any other crime for that matter, and then subsequently had the charges dropped after cutting a deal with authorities while conveniently naming Dale as the suspect.

Time and time again in society there are violent and heinous crimes that occur and prosecutors make their cases off of information from informants or other shady characters who run afoul of the law in unrelated crimes for which they are charged. Then, they offer up so-called knowledge about an unsolved crime and name another person hoping to cut a deal, or obtain a get out of jail free card. This case smells of such a dynamic. Why else would prosecutors ask the court to give a person a high bail to insure their appearance. (suspectedly for testimony in a grand jury indictment hearing). Hell, a person in a pinch (facing criminal charges) will say anything to deflect responsibility, to avoid jail time, and especially under duress while the threat of jail time is utilized to coerce testimony favorable to a prosecutor’s case.

Also, original news articles that were published back in 2012 around the time of the crime indicated that Disabatino was in his dwelling with friends when someone he knew texted him to come outside. The reports never indicated whether police offered any explanation as to why anyone would want to set Disabatino up to harm him. At the very least they must have obtained cell phone information regarding who texted him to come outside. Did that discovery ever produce any leads?

In fact, nothing was ever mentioned in any of the earlier reports regarding Disabatino selling marijuana to anyone, and if you assume that the “potential witness” is the source of where the police obtained their purported motive for the killing and accept that discovery as being accurate, then you must comprehend that this was an allege drug deal that went south, regardless of who the perpetrator of this violent crime was, and these new facts that are coming out now about the case doesn’t arise to first degree murder at all. If you consider the cop’s own theory that the perpetrators planned to purchase marijuana from Disabatino, and we can only wonder how they will prove the killing was premeditated?

Moreover, the News Journal article seems to suggest that the case is already complete and Dale has already been convicted, as it contains quotes from Thomas Disabitino (the father of the victim) thanking police officials for their work that he described as “remarkable” despite the fact that Dale hasn’t even gone to trial on these charges. Most civilized people will agree that even though he was allegedly involved in the solicitation of marijuana that he didn’t deserve to die, but the fact that he may have been selling pot, and that it possibly exposed him to the vulnerabilities of the drug dealing world must be confronted.

The glaring dynamic of young Peter Disabtinom coming from a wealthy and well-to-do family (which consist of judges, lawyers, real estate moguls, and construction developers) would create a tremendous upheaval for any person named as a suspect in this case. Imagine the type of consequences his killer(s) will face if they are suspected to be black men, as the influence of a powerful white family would create constant pressure on local government and police officials to find the killer and solve the case.

It’s very suspect that nothing was ever mentioned about the solicitation of drugs in initial reports, and the public was led to believe that Disabatino was simply a good college kid at home minding his business when two would-be criminals lured him into a trap to kill him. The News Journal article also talked about how the family coped with the loss of their son by awarding a $1,000 scholarship to an Appo lacrosse player that personifies Di Sabatino’s love of the game as well as his leadership and motivational qualities on and off the field.

Its typical American journalism when pertinent facts are often times omitted in these kind of cases, and news reports are crafted to play on the heart strings of the public by carefully scripting media content to make certain victims appear pure and pristine in the eye of the public, and in this instance for example, making Dale appear as a monster who killed a good kid without provocation. I’m sure during the course of the investigation something had to have indicated the drug element of this case. The fact that it was concealed all of this time is scary considering the status of the victim’s family in this case. That’s even if you believe the cops’ new version of events for this case.

It’s quite possible that the Disabatino family could have used its influence to keep the fact that Peter was allegedly selling pot out of the media in an effort to prevent losing public interest in the case or the assistance of possible witnesses, and so that the stigmatization of drug dealing wouldn’t tarnish the family’s image. If you believe that a powerful white family could have influence related to the investigation into the killing of one of their own, imagine how much influence it could have in the process of identifying a subject in this case.

The fact that this case has taken so long to be resolved should cause the objective observer to pause and carefully weigh the facts to avoid a rush to judgement. Requesting that the courts ensure that a “potential witness” remains in jail on a high bail is extremely problematic for the prosecution. While the death of Peter Disabatino is tragic, it would be a tremendous injustice to railroad another black man for this killing, to appease or satisfy the pressures of solving a cold murder case.

The People’s Champion Blog

Im Crime Blogger David Adams

Sources: True Crime

New Castle County Police News

Delaware Online

Madison County Illinois Prosecutors Allegedly Sanction “Shakedown” Of Inmate Cell In Retaliation For Crushing Defeat In Federal Court Opinion

It is a wise standard operation procedure for officials working in correctional facilities to routinely search or “shakedown” the housing units or jail cells of inmates. These kind of operations are usually done to uncover contraband (i.e. drugs, actual currency, shanks, and other tools or manufactured weapons that inmates utilize to aid in penetrating an escape and to exact violence upon other inmates, correctional staff, or both) within the confines of prison or jail walls. While these type of “in house” methods of housekeeping within Correctional institutions serve as safety nets to protect staff and the public at large, these are tactics typically sanctioned by Correction admins such as the Warden, Security Chief, etc.

The prosecutor’s office in most jurisdictions have extremely little to no say in these kind of correction dealings, with the only exception being when they alert correction officials of inmates who are cooperating with the state in the prosecution of another inmate. Then, that inmate’s housing status usually gets flagged and they are assigned certain to housing units such as protective custody, or some form or another kind of administrative segregation, to protect the inmate from the general population of the facility, and to maintain security.

However, I’m not sure of the last time a state prosecutor’s office called a correctional facility with a request to have an inmate’s cell “shook down” (searched). According to sources associated with TPC, a direct request came down the pike from a Madison County prosecutor to have the prison cell of Mr. James Evans “shook down” to locate discovery (tapes) that are in evidence related to his convictions. This hasn’t actually been confirmed by TPC, but Evans’ cell was allegedly searched twice within a week, as correction officials were reportedly looking for discovery or evidence in the form of audio tapes, the sources said. Evans was asked directly by officials if he had any tapes in his cell, and Mr. Evans reportedly stated that he only had one tape, which was a rap tape (“Fear of a Black Planet,” by the rap group Public Enemy).

During the second “shakedown” Evans who has a relatively clean prison record, was reportedly cited by officials for having expired medicine and an inhaler used to treat his asthma,, in his cell. Both items were actually issued to Evans by the prison infirmary (meaning at least a PA or APRN prescribed the items to Evans). It’s not like he actually had narcotics or other unauthorized non prescription drugs. These kind of infractions could cause serious trouble for inmates. They could lose good time, their job within the prison which they need to support themselves, lose visits, or even worst by being sent to segregation (a disciplinary housing unit often referred to as solitary confinement) for months, and in some instances can even have time added to their sentence(s).

The alleged issuance of these kind of infractions are simply disgusting for obvious reasons. First off, the citations are “nick picky” and the fact that correction officials could only fine such weak infractions in Evans’ cell, speaks volumes. Especially when you consider that Evans case has made headlines in a nationally recognized law journal (Law.com), which highlighted an article regarding an Opinion filed by the Illinois 7th Circuit, a federal court that Evans filed an appeal to regarding a 20 year inordinate delay in his postconviction application. The fact that correction officials were reportedly looking for discovery from Evans’ case, from in side of his prison cell should seriously raise eyebrows.

The three judge panel excoriated the state courts for what they call an “indefensible” delay in Evans’ postconviction application, and highlighted in the judges Opinion were, you guest it, tapes that despite 4 separate court orders to turn the discover over to Mr. Evans, the prosecutors still have not fully complied. So, it should now be considered if the Illinois State’s Attorney office even have the subject tapes in the states possession. This is a crucial phase of the proceedings pertaining to Mr. Evans’ postconviction. The case has been remanded on the merits back to the initial lower federal court that initially denied Evans’ Habeas petition. This would usually mean that an evidentiary hearing would typically be held in the next proceedings (meaning Madison County Illinois prosecutors will have to produce the requested tapes that they have been ordered by the state courts to release for years).

In most judicial systems in the United States, the State’s Attorney General (the highest law enforcement official in the state) is typically required by law to maintain the record, including all evidence used to convict a defendant, for the entire duration of the defendant’s sentence when convicted and committed to a term of imprisonment. Mr. Evans was sentenced to 107 years in the Illinois state division of corrections (60 years for murder and 47 for soliciting murder). This is required for Appellate reason in the event of an error having been committed in a defendant’s case.

With that being said, is this alleged sanction by Madison County prosecutors a “hale Mary”? A last ditch effort to dig themselves out of a hole that corrupt prosecutors and law enforcement officials dug over 20 years ago? Nobody who has been watching closely to this case is fooled by such an inordinate delay in Evans’ postconviction application. Prosecutors have been allowed to defiantly disobey orders to turn over the discovery (tapes), that were ordered by the original trial court in this case, with impunity, and if Mr. Evans hadn’t filed a Habeas challenging his custody and confinement, the time clock in the 20 year delay would have continued counting without moving this application further down the process.

It appears that the cowardly “shakedown” of Evans’ cell was an amateur tactic (harassment) by a corrupt system that is now being held accountable after more than two decades. They should stop wasting time, stop posturing, and look at the evidence in this case. James Evans clearly doesn’t have discovery tapes from his trials in his cell (that’s what he has been asking for all these years to help prove that the cops and prosecutors framed him), and I seriously doubt if the State of Illinois have those tapes any longer either. That couldn’t be any clearer now.

I’m Journalist And Crime Blogger David Adams

The People’s Champion Blog

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: James Evans Case Makes National Law Journal News With Federal Court Ruling

TCCOR Means: The Circuit Court Opinion Read

Now comes James Evans before three Circuit Judges of an Illinois Federal Appeals Court, praying for relief from what many have called, an unjust Illinois state justice system that Evans claim was “ineffective” in the exhaustion of his postconviction relief efforts. Evans was convicted in two cases (murder, and conspiracy to commit murder) after separate trials back in 1998, and was condemned to the Illinois state division of corrections for a total of 107 years (60 years for murder, and 47 years for soliciting murder).

He has always maintained his innocence for the 1995 killing of Nekemar Pearson in the town of Alton Illinois and for conspiring to kill witnesses. In fact Evans has consistently claimed that he was framed, and that the prosecution engaged in serious misconduct which led to his subsequent convictions. He has been requesting discovery from his cases since 2005 to aid in bolstering his claims of actual innocence and to demonstrate how law enforcement officials broke the law in his cases.

After decades of court filings, postponements, several court orders, and other unnecessary delays, Evans still hasn’t received the discovery materials from his cases. Prosecutors have been ordered by the courts to turn over the materials in (4) separate court orders, and to this date have still failed to do so. Evans became frustrated with the process as the state courts appeared to be unwilling to compel prosecutors to comply with court orders and move the case along, and Frustrated by the continuous delays he felt that his request for postconviction relief had become such an inordinate delay, that the Illinois exhaustion remedies were “ineffective”. In a surprise turn of events, three federal Appeals Court judges agreed with Evans. A national Law Journal (Law.com) article by journalist Riley Brennan reported how the federal 7th Circuit Court of Illinois ruled in a motion filed by Mr. Evans.

Federal law requires that convicted persons exhaust all appeal remedies available on the state level before praying to the government for relief, but the problem here is that cases where the state’s process fails to follow the law, it becomes problematic, and applicants such as Evans, rights are violated by the ineffectiveness of the state’s deliberate or unintentional failed process. One of the most glaring aspects of Evans claims is Illinois’ own case law. Illinois has long ruled that postconviction proceedings should taken a little more than one year to conclude. Yet, 20 years later Evans’ case is still pending before the Illinois state courts.

With very few options available to him, James Evans invoked 28 U.S. 2254 and turned to the federal courts for relief (Congress wanted to prevent citizens from being held in confinement unjustly for infinity without oversight of state’s judicial proceedings, and established laws to enable convicted citizens to challenge their custody through a Writ of Habeas Corpus, and that’s just what Evans did). Unfortunately, Evans Habeas was initially denied by federal District Judge David Dugan (a former Madison County Illinois Superior Court Magistrate). Evans filed an Appeal before the United States Court of Appeals For the 7th Circuit (a higher court). The case was argued on February 16, 2023 and was decided on April 27, 2023 (actual oral arguments).

Circuit Court Judges Ripple, Scudder, and St. Eve offered an Opinion which sided with Evans claims that the state of Illinois postconviction relief process had become “ineffective”. In what can only be described as excoriating, the judges said “The delay Evans has experienced of twenty years and counting is beyond pale and indefensible. We, therefore vacate the district court’s judgement and remand”. The judges went on saying “Our case law makes clear that a state-law remedy can become ineffective or unavailable by virtue of delay if the delay is both inordinate and attributable to the state. See Carter v. Buesgen,
10 F.4th 715, 723–24 (7th Cir. 2021); Lane, 957 F.2d at 364–66 (TCCOR).

In Marvin Carter’s case he waited over four years for the state of Wisconsin courts to rule on the merits of his direct appeal. the judges argued that “we found such a delay not only extreme but also attributable to the state. Carter’s case was only a mere fraction of the delay that Evans endured, and the judges blamed the state of Illinois mostly for the inordinate delay in Evans case. the judges said that a few examples prove the point. Some of the evidence that was used to convict Evans was eavesdrop recordings of conversations with Evans and his cousin Tommy Rounds that rounds recorded for the authorities, in which prosecutors say Evans conspired to have witnesses killed.

“Take Evans’s discovery requests. Evans alleged that the state manipulated the audiotapes of his conversations with Rounds and induced witnesses to perjure themselves at his solicitation trial. To prove those claims, Evans repeatedly asked the state to produce the tapes, beginning in at least December 2008. (Evans claims he had requested the tapes as early as 2005, but the record is unclear on that point.) And multiple times, the trial court ordered the state to comply. First the court issued an order in December 2008 instructing the state to “provide all copies” of the tapes. The state did not
comply. Then, in June 2009, the court directed that since the litigation was “now six years old,” “all … productions,” including the tapes, “are to be completed immediately.” The state still did not comply. In July 2010 the court found itself ordering the state to hand over the tapes yet again, this time within ten days. While the state may have produced some tapes after this order, it failed to produce others. It was not until June 2011—nearly a year past the ten-day deadline set forth in the July 2010 order and two-and-a-half years after the court’s first order—that the state came forward with more of
the missing tapes. But that was not the end of Evans’s discovery saga” (TCCOR).

The discovery (audio tapes) are a crucial element of Evans’ claims of innocence and prosecutorial misconduct (especially the ones introduced into evidence at his trials), because Evans has always claimed that the recordings played before the jury were audios of multiple conversations edited or manipulated to appear as one conversation. Evans has been trying to obtain the audiotapes for the purpose of forensic testing to determine their authenticity. “While the state had produced some relevant tapes, Evans had still not received others. The trial court ordered the state to produce the remaining tapes in September 2011, but the state claimed that it did not have them in its possession. Retrieving them should not have been difficult: the trial court had the tapes (at least the ones introduced into evidence at Evans’s trials) in the underlying dockets for Evans’s two cases and, by June 2011, was aware that the prosecutors had not located them. But another two years passed before the clerk’s office gave Evans permission to review the exhibits. In a hearing in March 2012, the trial court alluded to why it took so long to find the tapes—it had forgotten to search the dockets for both of Evans’s underlying trials because it had “overlooked the
fact that you actually have two cases here.” And despite the clerk’s office apparently locating the exhibits in 2013, Evans still maintains that he has not received all the tapes” (TCCOR).

The “cat and mouse” exchanges between Evans, the trial court, and state prosecutors went on for years while Evans’ postconviction application wasn’t moved along the state’s relief process, but the 3 judge panel were focused on what they learned in the record, and acknowledged that “the court told Evans in 2012 that the delay ‘isn’t really your fault,’ that ‘the State’s Attorney maybe hasn’t been clear on who has what records,’ and that the court ‘want[ed] to get that [confusion] resolved.’ So, Evans’s case remained in limbo” (TCCOR). Read the complete article as published in the Law.com journal here.

It should be noted here, that its extremely rare for a Writ of Habeas to be accepted, heard, and agreed upon by U.S. Courts releated to convicted person(s), and many followers of his story are now asking “what will happen in his case now.” The unjustifiable 20 year delay in Mr. Evans case should bare proof that there are aslways uncertainties related to court appeals. However, Mr. Evans claims will now be heard in a federal court room and not in Madison County Illinois. This is something that is believed to be dredded by Evans’ original trial court. After all, the suspiciousness of not producing discovey evidence (tapes) used to convict Mr. Evans for over 20 years is simply beyond mere coincidence and at least is highly suspect.

What we know now for certain is the state courts will have to produce those recordings played before the jury at Mr. Evans trials, all of them. Futhermore, if the federal court rolls up its sleeves and take a good look at the evidence, much more will be layed to bear in the Evans case. Such as suppression of exculpatory evidence, recantation of witness testimonies, and other disturbing factors related to the Evans convictions which include testimony from a “jailhouse snitch” in the form of Demond Spruill. Spruill’s very involvement in the Evans prosecution and subsequent convictions is problematic in itself. Demond Spruill reportedly testified that Evans had allgedly confessed to him regarding the Pearson killing, but Spuill had also done this exact same thing before in at least 8 other separate and unrelated murder cases, after officials strategically placed Spruill in the jail cell with these defendants.

It was very clever to suggest or rationalize that this inordinate delay was due to prosecutors forgetting that Mr. Evans actually had two court dockets and that it wasn’t readily known which docket actually contained the discovery tapes that James Evans has been seeking, but the bottom line here is that the tapes are suppose to have been in the state’s possession all along, as the 7th Circut Court stated in its Opinion. Yet, the state still hasn’t turned over the targeted evidence to Mr. Evans. The posturing and stalling tactics in this case by the state is not an anomoly, and often times usually proves unfortunately, later rather than sooner, that illegalities were committed during the prosecution of a criminal defendant. The state of Illinois has a lot more than tapes to be concerned about in the Evans case.

I’m Journalist And Crime Blogger David Adams

The People’s Champion Blog


Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: Illinois Attorney General Challenged To Fulfill Campaign Promise, And Free Wrongfully Convicted Political Prisoners Of Madison County

Imagine if you lived in a society where your local police or county sheriff office could create false criminal charges against you and even pay confidential informants to lie in court, implicating you in a murder case or other violent crimes. Then imagine that with the help of state law enforcement officials, jury selection manipulation tactics are implemented to select jurors most favorable to the prosecution’s case. Murder charges are of such a serious nature you definitely need a hired attorney, but what if you’re financially unable to secure private counsel, and the court appoints a lawyer for you who just so happens to be a special defender selected by the judge, and a former law partner of the state attorney prosecuting your case. This scenario wouldn’t exactly be the ideal situation for any defendant facing imprisonment that could send them to the slammer for decades.

There are so many people in our nation who have been indicted, tried in a court of law, and then subsequently convicted of crimes that were born out of false charges drummed up by dirty cops and corrupt prosecutors. Then, many are sentenced to serve time in a penitentiary, away from their families and loved ones for years. Some sentences are so long that convicts often are resolved in their fate, and try to cope with their time the best they can. Others are consistently and diligently spending their time investigating how such an injustice could have happened to them.

After decades of incarceration many of those who were wrongfully convicted are transformed into A students of their own cases. Their diligence in researching the law rewards them with the knowledge of having learned the intricate details of their criminal trial that resulted into their conviction. Once the ugly truth of how such an injustice happened to them, and now with actual proof that they were wrongfully conviction in hand, you would think that even a court appointed lawyer would try to mount an appeal with claims based on new evidence that should get their conviction reversed. However, many appellate counsels are uninterested in newly discovered evidence, and instead they often times try to get defendants tp drop all of the claims within their appeal which proves their innocence, and encourages them to take a deal that’s brokered with the state prosecutor, and usually entails a meager sentence reduction. Then if deal is refused, and a request is made to pursue the claims of innocence, some are abandoned by their lawyers (who if you remember, are routinely a former law partner of the prosecutor) for years, and in some cases their case are even taken off the court docket, leaving them in an appellate limbo.

Much of what I’ve described is akin to a society ruled by dictatorship, or perhaps a complete totalitarian system of government oppression. Trumped up charges which entail paid witnesses, suppression of exculpatory evidence, jury tampering, police and prosecutors who lie, and judges who seem complicit by not allowing defendant’s claims to be fully developed on appeal, and taken judicial measures to ensure that a higher court never reviews a case on appeal, is probably the most partisan form of jurisprudence imaginable within any system of government. Unfortunately, there are similar patterns and practices that I have described regarding these systems of injustices right here in America. This article is about four men (James Evans, Valdez Jordan, Larry Greer, and Jeffrey Ewing), whose stories are simply incredible on their own individual merits, but collectively tell a very dark and desolate tale of corruption by law enforcement in southern Illinois. No major media outlet has ever written or even broadcasted about these cases collectively in conversations to line up the disturbing parallels, and patterns of practice within the Madison County Illinois justice system. Quite frankly, no one ever cared because they are all black men who caught the ire of police, and prosecutors want society to believe that they are all violent murderers who belong behind bars.

For over three years now, I’ve reviewed thousands of documents, interviewed a volume of witnesses related to the criminal cases of all of these men. What their cases have in common is they were all prosecuted by the same state attorney (Keith Jensen) and at some point, whether during their individual trials or appeals, were represented by the same defense counsel (Randy Hale). Similarly, each and ever one of their cases were born out of the investigative work of former Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells (who is currently the Chief of Police in Woodriver Illinois). While I have weighed the credibility of many people that I have interviewed, the record in most of these cases tell a compelling story of its own, and adds tremendous credibility to the accounts of various people from the city of Alton Illinois.


In the mid to late 1990s the city of Alton which is just east of the Mississippi River in southern Illinois, was under siege, just like most urban towns in America, as it was in fact the height of our nation’s drug epidemic. The proliferation of drug addicts seemed endless, and the illegal drug trade left a harrowing volume of carnage in its wake. Even in the small midwestern town of tiny Alton Illinois, violent murders were on the rise. Some of the victims who fell prey to street violence are why this story is even being told. James Evans was convicted of killing young Nekemar Pearson, Valdez Jordan was convicted of the killing of Kenneth Spann, Larry Greer was convicted for the killing of Brian Warr, and Jeffrey Ewing was convicted for the killing of Dwight Riddlesprigger and for the killing of Antonio Ray years later.

Incredibly, none of their cases actually contained any evidence of any kind that directly linked them to the killings they were individually accused of committing. In fact, all of their cases collectively were highly circumstantial and weak cases that were tried before all white juries. To bolster the state’s cases against these men (who all admittedly were no angels), the prosecutor elicited the assistance of professional “jail house snitch Demond “Duke” Spruill and Jody Wesley, who claim that the four men had all confessed during individual conversations with them in the Madison County jail. Then in 2005 the ugly truth surrounding their convictions was revealed, when an Appellate court overturned the murder conviction of a man name Jeramy Brown (who was white), after discovering that the state had repeatedly used Demond Spruill (who testified that Jeremy Brown confessed) in a volume of other murder cases where he claimed others had confessed also, related to other separate murder cases. The court’s ruling included harsh language for Madison County prosecutors for their recycled use of Spruill, citing that “every time the state has a weak case, this guy (Demond Spruill) shows up, and the jail cell becomes a confessional despite astronomical odds.” Spruill’s testimony was the most damaging piece of evidence in each of their cases (Evans, Jordan, and Ewing), with the exception of Larry Greer, who professional “snitch” Jody Wesley testified against.

Jeramy Brown’s case pertaining to the killing of Michael Keller is very telling juxtaposed to similarly situated black defendants such as Evans, Jordan, and Ewing who were all convicted of murder and the state’s star witness in their cases was also Demond Spruill. Despite the extremely violent and heinous details of the Keller murder, and Brown actually having made incriminating statements to Spruill during a state eavesdrop operation, that included a solicitation of murder plot by Brown to have Spruill kill state witnesses who were scheduled to testify against him, the Appellate court tossed out Brown’s conviction because it ruled that Spruill was in fact working as an agent for the state during the time in which the 6th Amendment grants a defendant right to counsel when questioned by any arm of the prosecution (Read Jeramy Brown’s conviction reversal decision here). The state eventually convicted Jeramy Brown for the murder of Michael Keller, and then had the conviction upheld by the Illinois State Supreme Court.

Mean while the cases of Evans, Jordan, Ewing, and others haven’t even been allowed to move forward in the appeal process for nearly two decades, because Madison County courts won’t adjudicate the claims in their appeals, which appears to be a stalling tactic to prevent errors, violations of the law, and other highly problematic elements of their convictions from being fully developed on the record in their respective cases. To some attorneys that I have interviewed regarding these cases, I appear ignorant to the law by claiming that the cases of these men have all been in the “post conviction” stage for at least 18 years. They are quickly educated on the pattern and practices of the Madison County Illinois court system. To many the process seems rather confusing because the state of Illinois has long established that “post conviction” proceedings should only take a little more than one year to conclude, but apparently that standard doesn’t apply to the Madison County Courts, and the inordinate delays in these cases seems unconstitutional. There were blatant violations of the law related to the prosecution of their cases and much of the following may be exactly why:

Confidential Informants and Perjured Testimony

Although Demond Spruill was a state witness who regularly testified in murder trials (some say just about every murder case in Alton), his credibility never appears to come under scrutiny by the many jurors seated for trials in which he testified in. It seems as though all murderers in the city some how run into Spruill (who is a convicted felon himself) in the county jail and then pour out their hearts to him, while confessing to having committed murder. Its suspect and highly improbable to have ever occurred, but Spruill wasn’t the only one who played a major role in helping the state prosecutors to convict criminal defendants. Larry Greer was also utilized as an informant by police and prosecutor Kieth Jensen. Greer admittedly was a drug addict that had been a “laced” smoker (Marijuana, LSD, Heroin, and Cocaine) off and on since the age of 12 years old.

Madison County Sheriffs took advantage of Greer’s addiction by providing him with stories that fit a theory that they fabricated to file criminal charges against people they wanted off the streets. During a interview with Mr. Greer from the Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro Illinois, Greer told TPC that he was provided with information about criminal cases, study the material, advised to implicate himself in those cases, and then in exchange he would be paid which he used to supply his drug usage. Greer has even said that he was allegedly given back his $1500 bail money on one occasion, and he was even expecting more money from Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells in exchange for testifying falsely against people.

Just like Larry Greer, Jody Wesley also falsely testified against people at the behest of police and prosecutors. An Appellate Court judge even gave credibility to both Greer and Wesley’s false testimonies in a ruling after highlighting an incident where Greer and Wesley were traveling in a prisoner transport vehicle together, and jokingly discussed that “lyng ain’t snitching” and “we’re gonna say what ever detective Bradley Wells and prosecutor Jensen want us to say, to get out of jail.”

Also, there are others whom say they were either under the influence of alcohol or narcotics when they witnessed certain crimes, but Alton police and county sheriffs used their testimonies to help prosecutors convict defendants of murder. Some who spoke on conditions of anonymity say they were using drugs for nearly an entire week before the murder trial for which they testified in on behalf of the state, was actually high on drugs during their testimony, and say the prosecutor knew about it. One witness in particular said he was so high on drugs that he doesn’t even recall what he actually testified to at the trial. None of this information was ever made known to the trial jury, and the defense counsel never tried to impeach the witness’ statements or even attempted to inquire about the witness’ drug use. “It was a common practice for Alton police and county sheriffs to use information from people who struggled with drug addiction and then ran afoul of the law”, a witness said. Police intimidation tactics were often used to pressure people to lie and make false statements, in exchange for making their personal criminal charges go away. Official documents even reveal how the police even allowed violent offenders go free after they lied on the stand for police and prosecutors.

James Evans

In the summer of 1995 a home invasion occurred at the residence of James Evans. he was robbed of some minor personal items and expensive car radio speakers. Word got around who the masked perpetrators were, and young Nekemar Pearson of Alton was one of the people identified as having been involved in the home invasion at Evans’ home. Pearson eventually went missing around June 24 of 1995. He was under court ordered home monitoring pending trial for a murder (the killing of Willie Nichols). After Pearson went missing it was rumored that Evans killed him in retaliation for the home invasion (but on the day police claim Pearson was last seen alive, there were reports that Pearson was being chased by family members of Willie Nichols, who were shooting at him as he fled). Police reports reveal how another man name Marcus Holloway gave police a statement regarding the home invasion, implicating himself and others. Even though a volume of people participated in the crime (if you follow the state’s theory), young Nekemar Pearson was believed to have been the only one killed for his involvement.

Evans who had no prior history of violence was eventually charged with Pearson’s killing. It was rumored that Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells was the source of the rumors which fingered Evans for the Pearson murder. At his trial the state didn’t offer any direct evidence which linked Evans to the crime except hearsay testimony. Many of the witnesses were on the hook with the police and had pending criminal charges of their own, like Clifton Wheeler, Larry Greer, and Jody Westley. Wheeler implicated himself in the Pearson killing by testifying that he witnessed Evans kill Pearson in a wooded area in Godfrey Illinois where his remains were discovered, but court transcripts show that Wheeler lied on the stand, and prosecutor Kieth Jensen knew about it. Wheler had already been sentenced in a separate murder case, but when questioned on the stand under direct examination, he denied receiving anything for his testimony at Evans’ trial. Kieth Jensen who represented the state at Wheelers sentencing was well aware that he received a plea deal for his testimony in the Evans case, and that Wheeler had perjured himself (a violation of the law). More importantly, Jensen concealed Wheeler’s plea deal from the trial jury, which not only cast doubt of Wheeler’s credibility, but highlights how a state prosecutor knowingly broke the law in the Evans case (Read an excerpt from Clifton Wheeler’s perjured testimony in the trial of James Evans here). Clifton Wheeler had in fact already made a plea deal with the state (Kieth Jensen who prosecuted Wheeler) prior to testifying at Evans’ trial. If Wheeler was telling the truth about witnessing Evans kill Pearson, then why did the state knowingly break the law? (Read Clifton Wheeler’s Sentencing Plea Deal here).

Larry Greer and Jodi Westley who also testified against James Evans, are admitted liars and the trial jury never heard about the intricate plea arrangements they both brokered with the state prosecutor in exchange for their testimonies (Read an excerpt from an official court document highlighting Greer And Jodi Wesley’s admissions to lying for state officials in exchange for plea deals here). For instance, Greer was in trouble with criminal charges and was able to broker a deal to not only have his charges dropped, but even had authorities pay him for false statements against Evans (Greer received his $1500.00 bail money back as payment).

The state’s case was based on hearsay testimony from known felons, admitted liars, and was highly circumstantial. That’s where the state introduced Demond Spruill who claims that Evans confessed to him while at the county jail. A jury convicted Evans of the Pearson murder, but that wasn’t enough for state prosecutor Jensen. Evans was then indicted and tried in a weird murder conspiracy. The state alleged that Evans hired a man name Robert Fletcher (best friend of of Nekemar Pearson, who Evans was convicted of killing) to kill Lester Warr, the father of Briann Warr (who police say was suspected of aiding Evans and Clifton Wheeler in the Pearson murder). Along side Evans, a woman name Latosha White-Hamilton was charged with conspiracy to commit murder also.

The state alleges that Evans instructed Hamilton to give a man name Tommy Rounds (a known police informant and a cousin of James Evans) a gun to kill Lester Warr. Hamilton who resides in the state of Missouri, told TPC that the state’s claim of a murder conspiracy was “a complete fabricated story.” Hamilton says Evans only requested that she “look out for Rounds,” who had just came home from being incarcerated. Rounds was wearing a wire for state prosecutors when he came home and eventually met with Hamilton. Hamilton says she believed that Rounds would be in need of some money as most who are recently released from incarceration do. “He told me that he needed money to get back to his hometown in Illinois,” and kept calling her over an extended period of time. Hamilton went on to say that when she finally met with Rounds, instead of requesting the money he had previously asked for, he asked if she had a fire arm, and said that she only had her late husband’s old gun that had been in the closet for years. She said that at the time she had two of her small children and her young nephew living with her, and wanted the weapon out of her home any way, so she subsequently sold the weapon to Rounds for $50.00. Hamilton admits selling a gun in Illinois without a license was a violation of the law, but denies being involved in any kind of murder conspiracy, and when she learned that Rounds was in fact wearing a wire during their brief exchanges, she advised her attorney (court appointed lawyer) to obtain the recordings. She says the recordings would prove that their was no conspiracy surrounding the sale of a firearm to Tommy Rounds.

Rounds also wore a wire for for the state while having conversations with Evans at the county jail. Some of those recordings were played during Evans’ trial, but must of the recordings were inaudible. TPC has obtained transcriptions of some of those recordings, and the dialogue doesn’t follow a normal conversation pattern, let a lone a conversation about a murder conspiracy. Evans was subsequently convicted of the conspiracy to commit murder count also. He was sentenced to a total of 107 years in the state of Illinois Division of Corrections for both cases. Evans who has always denied both killing Pearson and conspiring to have Lester Warr killed, has stated that he never had any conversations with Spruill, and that the recordings played during his trial were edited (he claims the trial recordings were a combination of multiple conversations edited together to appear as one). and one of his appellate claims was regarding those trial recordings.

Hamilton who was very close friends with James Evans also said that police repeatedly interrogated her, while threatening her to tell them something incriminating about Evans. Hamilton says they held her in the county jail for over four months in an attempt to get her to make a statement, but says she was eventually set free when the state dropped the first degree murder conspiracy charges against her. She would fight lesser charges for years until she pled guilty to the solicitation of a firearm without a license. Hamilton said that the so called conspiracy tapes with her and Rounds have never been produced by the state.

Then in 2001, years after Evans had already begun serving his sentence, Evans received a letter from Appellate Defender Dan W. Evers, who forwarded a copy of a police report from an Alton School Resource officer. In the report Det. J. Cooley writes that he observed Nekemar Pearson walking down a street in Alton on July 3, 1995, and nearly two weeks after the day that state prosecutors allege that James Evans had killed him. Attorney Evers went on to state in his communication to Evans, that he discovered the police report in some paperwork that was sent to his office. The very existence of Det. Cooley’s report establishes that the police was aware that Pearson was seen alive after the day they told a grand jury and a trial jury that Evans had killed him, and its also clear that police officials had such discovery long before the state sought an indictment of Evans for the Pearson murder. This highly exculpatory document was suppressed by police and the prosecutor’s office from Evans’ defense, and his trial jury never saw it (Read the Appellate Defender Letter to Evans and the exculpatory police report from police officer J. Cooley here).

Moreover, Evans first requested the trial recordings discovery (associated with Tommy Rounds) back in 2001, and despite a mountain of court orders directing state officials to turn the items over to Evans, the state to this day has never complied. The state’s refusal to comply with court orders with impunity, coupled with perjured testimony, paid witnesses, and the suppression of exculpatory evidence clearly establishes that at the very least, James Evans as a matter of fact and law, was denied a fair trial under the U,S, Constitution.

While I have already written a volume of other articles pertaining to the case of James Evans, his story can best be summarized in this article:Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The Incredible But Surreptitious Conviction Of James Evans Summarized.

Larry Greer

Larry Greer is very well known to the Alton police and the Madison County Sheriffs office, as his drug addict led him down a destructive path that culminated in a 40 year prison sentence. While Greer is setting in a Illinois state prison convicted of first degree murder, he is just as much a victim as the man for whom he is charged with killing. His personal struggles with the law and addiction made him extremely vulnerable, and the police exploited it to the fullest. Greer who is an admitted liar, testified against James Evans during his murder case. Greer told TPC that what he told Evans’ trial jury was in fact all lies, much of which was created and fed to him by police (Bradley Wells) and state prosecutor Kieth Jensen.

They used scare tactics to make Greer adopt their fabricated stories under duress. Greer was charged with killing Brian Warr, even though it was in fact a man name Robert Fletcher who pulled the trigger. Brian Warr and Greer were good friends (Warr was also a mutual friend of James Evans). One fateful night outside an Alton night club, Greer and Warr were seated in a vehicle when Fletcher shot and killed Warr. Greer rushed Warr to the hospital, but cops held Greer hostage when he initially wouldn’t identify who the shooter was. Greer told police that he ducked when shots were fired and didn’t see the shooter. The police then threatened to charge Greer with obstruction of justice, and for a heavy drug user like Larry Greer, a stint in the county jail would be extremely painful for him.

So Greer played ball, by giving in to police demands and adopted a story that alleges he was directed to transport Brian Warr to the club in Alton that night at the behest of James Evans, and for the purpose of him being killed by Robert Fletcher in a conspiracy that Greer alleges was orchestrated by Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells and State Prosecutor Kieth Jensen. “It was all made up,” Greer told TPC. “They kept getting me to implicate myself more and more every time I lied for them,” he said. Greer says they even paid him on multiple occasions to lie for them. It was monies he admits he used to support his drug addiction.

Greer also states that he was even “expecting more money” for his cooperation. Greer’s claim that he was paid by police and a prosecutor was corroborated by Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells, when he admitted given Greer money during testimony in a trial, and while he (Wells) even told the court that state prosecutor Kieth Jensen approved giving Greer $1500.00 bond money back that was posted for him in his own criminal case, in exchange for testifying at a Grand Jury indictment hearing (Click the link to read an excerpt from Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells Testimony in a trial).

Only when it was time for Greer to provide their fabricated story before Robert Fletcher’s trial jury, Greer had become exhausted with telling lies for the prosecutor’s office, and refused to go along with their story (Click this link to read an excerpt from court transcripts of Greer’s exchange with prosecutor Kieth Jensen in open court, where Greer gives details of how they wanted him to change his story in the James Evans case, and how prosecutor Jensen told him and others what to testify to in exchange for deals in their own criminal cases). He was subsequently charged with the murder of Brian Warr, despite the fact that he actually drove Warr to the hospital that night. Greer even gave police one of the initial statements during the Warr homicide investigation.

To add insult to injury, Greer was promised immunity for his fictitious role in the Warr murder conspiracy, but when he wouldn’t go all the way and connect the dots for the state, by testifying falsely and implicating James Evans as the master mind who hired Robert Fletcher to kill Brian Warr (a scenario that would have made Evans eligible for the state’s death penalty), his immunity was stripped away (a violation of the law) which ultimately led to Greer’s conviction in the Brian Warr killing. During an interview with Greer from the Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro Illinois, Larry Greer told TPC that “Everything I testified to was given to me by the police (Bradley Wells) and the state (Prosecutor Kieth Jensen), now I’m locked up for the story that they made up (Read Larry Greer’s Affidavit here: Affidavit of Larry Greer).

Valdez Jordan

In the case of Valdez Jordan, it was a routine traffic stop that became very odd when a state cop made a very strange request of Mr. Jordan who was riding down an Alton street when he was pulled over by an Illinois state police officer. The cop asked Jordan why his car was swerving when the cop was behind him? Jordan explained to the officer that he had dropped something and was trying to retrieve it. The state cop ran Jordan’s license and registration and came back to his vehicle and advised Jordan that he checked out, that he wasn’t in trouble, but a Madison County Sheriff name Bradley Wells had overheard him calling in his info to police dispatch. Wells contacted the state cop and asked him to request Jordan to stay there momentarily because he would like to speak with him. Jordan says he was reluctant, but stayed until Wells arrived.

When Wells pulled up Jordan says he motioned for him to come get inside of his police cruiser, and Jordan got in. Wells then asked Jordan if he knew who killed “Pookie” (Nekemar Pearson). Jordan states that he told Wells that he doesn’t know anything about that, and then Wells allegedly stated “you know who killed “Pookie,” Raven (James Evans) killed “Pookie.” Jordan says Wells asked him about his gang affiliation and he responded “I think you already know the answer to that.” Jordan said the conversation got even stranger, as Wells appeared to solicit him to do something to James Evans, because he had allegedly killed his “homeboy,” and was selling drugs on his gang’s turf. Jordan says he kept his conversation with Wells brief and then got out of his cruiser.

Months later Valdez Jordan was locked up in the Madison County jail facing murder charges related to an Alton “Crap house” robbery that resulted in the killing of a man. Jordan says he was called by jail correctional staff for an attorney visit, but when he got to the visiting area, no attorney was present, instead it was Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells. Jordan alleges that Wells offered to assist him with his current criminal case, stating that he could “make the charges disappear” if he was willing to testify to a certain “scenario” (that essentially fingered James Evans as the person responsible for the killing of Nekemar Pearson). Jordan states he reiterated to Wells that he had no knowledge pertaining to that case, and that he didn’t need his assistance with his own criminal case because he was innocent of the charges. Jordan says that he was called on at least another occasion for an attorney visit in which it was Bradley Wells again. He states that he was requested by Wells to assist in the Pearson killing by providing false testimony against Evans for a second time, but only he was given a warning upon leaving that particular meeting with Wells, who allegedly stated “you’re going to regret not cooperating with me.”

Jordan believes that Well’s parting words to him that day resulted in the recruitment of Demond Spruill to lie and fabricate a confession, allegedly provided by Jordan regarding the killing of Kenneth Spann at the Alton “crap house” robbery for which Jordan is now serving a 35 year sentence. Jordan also believes that arrangements began immediately after he last spoke with Wells at the Madison County jail, because as he entered the cell block Demond Spruill was being escorted to the same area for an allege attorney visit. He says he even warned Spruill that there was no attorney waiting for him, and instead “it was Bradley Wells out there.” Jordan also believes that was probably when the negotiations for Spruill to testify against him were set into motion. Valdez Jordan has always maintained his innocence related to the Kenneth Spann homicide, and has stringently denies having confessed the crime to Spruill or anyone else.

However, Demond Spruill would go on to later testify against Valdez Jordan while alleging that he had confessed to the “crap house” killing. Mr. Jordan believes that one of the main reasons he was fingered for the “crap house” shooting is because he refused to lie for cops who appeared to be desperately trying to develop a murder case against James Evans by any means necessary (official records in the form of a police report that contains Spruill’s initial statements to police, establishes that the tip from a confidential informant in the “crap house” killing that Valdez Jordan was fingered for, ironically originated from Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells) (Read the Affidavit of Valdez Jordan here).

Mr. Jordan was subsequently convicted of murder in what could be described as another weak Madison County prosecution with a known professional “jail house informant,” Demond Spruill cast as the state’s star witness. Although Spruill’s appearance was highly problematic (which I’ll explain later in the article), there were other witnesses who provided vague, opinionated, circumstantial, and exculpatory testimony that collectively could never establish as a matter of fact that Valdez Jordan, or anyone else for that matter, was actually the gunman beyond a reasonable doubt during the fateful earlier morning hours in Alton. Although Jordan admittedly had been at the “crap house” gambling earlier, he says he left after having “craped out” (lost all his money), and wasn’t present during the robbery that resulted in the killing of Kenneth Spann.

State prosecutor’s however, pitched the theory to the jury that Jordan lost his money and came back armed in a violent rage to rob the place. During the investigation it was established by a volume of eyewitnesses at the “crap house” when the shooting occurred, that the perpetrator had a sheer stocking cap over his face which made it difficult to identify him. At Jordan’s trial no witness testified to observing Valdez Jordan shooting Mr. Spann, hell no one testified to even seeing the actual shooter’s face. Only one witness stated that he saw Valdez Jordan on the street outside of the “crap house” holding a gun after the shooting, but the same witness also testified to seeing others with guns in their hands also (like a man name Jarvis Brown). Some people in Alton familiar with the “crap house” told TPC that “the place had been robbed multiple times in the past,” and “there was a lot of money floating around in there. Everybody in there probably had a damn gun, and more than likely had taken their weapons out to protect themselves when the shooting started,” they said.

That witness who was the sole person, who claim to have seen Valdez Jordan at the scene of the crime immediately after the shooting, spoke on conditions of anonymity, and told TPC that he was “under the influence of mind altering drugs the night of the killing,” which was an important detail related to the case that wasn’t disclosed to the court, Jordan’s defense, nor the jury. It’s important to note here, that the witness didn’t actually see the shooting take place. His testimony only provided an alleged vantage from outside of the “crap house” after the place dispersed with people fleeing the area after the gun fire.

Some witnesses testified that they believe the person who committed the crime was Valdez Jordan because of the sound of the shooter’s voice. One of those witness (Ramando Alexander) who testified and claimed to had been knowing Jordan for about 6 months, a statement that Jordan says was untrue. He denies ever having known the witness. Court documents show that Alexander was also under indictment for an unrelated first degree murder case, which the state subsequently reduced to a lesser charge of unlawful restraint (in the killing of Antonio Ray) for his cooperation and testimony against Valdez Jordan. Court trial transcripts show how on cross examination it was revealed that Alexander actually had a deal to testify against Valdez Jordan, and despite a signed agreement being introduced into evidence, Alexander repeatedly denied it (Read the trial testimony of Ramando Alexander here). Also, Alexander’s statement to Alton police was entirely different from his trial testimony, as Valdez Jordan’s lawyer rightfully and thoroughly impeached on cross examination during the trial (Read an excerpt from Ramando Alexander’s statement to Alton Police here).

Another witness (a known drug addict) who testified and also pointed at the sound of Jordan’s voice, was the sister of a former girlfriend of Mr. Jordan. Only in her original statement to police, she says that she knew the voice, but couldn’t put a face with the voice, and then only after Alton police officials suggested Valdez Jordan’s name to her did she suddenly realize who the perpetrator was and changed her statement to identify the shooter to be, in her opinion Mr. Jordan, according to her testimony. That witnesses admitted that she had an outstanding arrest warrant for unknown charges squashed by Alton police and the prosecutor’s office in exchange for her testimony against Valdez Jordan. Moreover, Alton police arrested a witness four days before she was to testify in Jordan’s trial.

Her original statement to police placed Jordan at her apartment at the time of the shooting, while in police custody her statement suddenly morphed into placing Jordan at her place after the shooting, and claimed that Jordan told her that he heard the “crap house” had been robbed and he was going to find out more about it (placing doubt on Jordan’s claims of not being on the scene at the time of the crime). Also, arguments from Jordan’s defense counsel in court transcripts from a post trial motion hearing, disclose how the witness was actually held in police custody until the actual trial, and then immediately upon the completion of her testimony, she was released from police custody on her own recognizance with the approval of the state prosecutors (Read an excerpt from Valdez Jordan’s post trial motion hearing here).

Although some witness testimony against Valdez Jordan appear suspect (especially witnesses who suddenly regained their memory after being locked up by police), their accounts (witnesses who identified Jordan as the shooter because in their opinion they thought it was his voice behind the mask, and an admitted drug addict who say he saw Valdez Jordan on the street holding a gun after the shooting) collectively fall short of establishing Mr. Jordan’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The testimony of a state’s witness not only put other people on the street with guns in their hands outside of the “crap house” after the shooting, but that witness even identified Jarvis Brown by name, which raises even more suspicion as to why Alton police never interviewed him during the course of the investigation (Read that witness redacted trial testimony here).

However, it was the testimony of Demond Spruill who provided the most culpable testimony against Jordan, claiming he confessed and made other statements that more than likely weighed heavily on the trial jury in determining their verdict, but as I eluded to earlier in the article, Spruill’s appearance was highly problematic. During pretrial motions Mr. Jordan’s counsel stated that his defense team was ready for trial, but Mr. Jordan wasn’t. Judge Charles Romani who heard the arguments addressed Mr. Jordan directly to ascertain why he wasn’t prepared for trial. Jordan told the court that their were witnesses who could testify for his defense who had not been interviewed by his lawyers and hadn’t been summoned for trial. He also expressed exception to the anticipated testimony of Demond Spruill who had testified in a volume of other murder cases. Judge Romani assured Mr. Jordan that his witnesses would be contacted and that during the trial, everyone would learn about Demond Spruill. “I even know about Demond Spruill,” the judge said. The trial proceeded as scheduled and the trial resulted in Mr. Jordan being convicted of murder (Read an excerpt from Valdez Jordan pretrial motion hearing here).

However, during a post trial motion hearing, Mr. Jordan’s lawyers requested that the verdict in the case be vacated, citing that there was insufficient evidence establishing that Mr. Jordan committed the crime, and also expressed concern of a state’s witness being released from police custody immediately after testifying in the trial. His lawyers also argued that Demond Spruill was in fact acting as an agent of the state when he held conversations with Mr. Jordan at the Madison County jail. They argue that as a defendant, Mr. Jordan had a right to have his legal counsel present during such conversations, and that the dialogue with Spruill without his counsel present in fact violated Mr. Jordan’s 6th amendment rights under the United States Constitution (meaning Spruill’s testimony shouldn’t have been entered into the record) (Read Valdez Jordan’s Post Trial arguments here).

State prosecutor Kieth Jensen countered the defense’s motion by claiming that “no one sent Mr. Spruill in their to speak with Mr. Jordan. They met on the cell block and that’s where the conversations took place your honor,” Jensen stated. Judge Romani eventually ruled that there was no evidence presented during the trial that establishes that Demond Spruill was acting as an arm of the prosecution, and the defense’s motions were denied, essentially allowing the guilty verdict to stand. However, official court documents related to this case reveal some alarming facts. When prosecutor Jensen claimed in open court that “no one sent Mr. Spruill in there to speak with Mr. Jordan,” he was in fact lying and the judge knew it. TPC has obtained documents that disclose the use of eavesdropping devices in the case in which Demond Spruill participated in at the behest of Alton police. Those documents are in fact signed by Alton police detectives, a police supervisor, state prosecutors, Demond Spruill and Judge Charles Romani himself. Although prosecutor Jensen lied in open court, it really wasn’t that shocking, as official court documents reveal how Kieth Jensen has repeatedly lied in open court during the prosecution of all four of these subject (Evans, Greer, Jordan, and Ewing) defendant’s cases.

During the pretrial motion hearing where Mr. Jordan expressed concern regarding the anticipated testimony of Demond Spruill, and Judge Romani stated that “even I know about Demond Spruill,” the obvious conflict of interest should have been recognized by the judge, who should have immediately recused himself from hearing the trial. Romani’s ruling pertaining to defense post trial motions on Spruill becomes extremely problematic, because his ruling seems to completely side step Jensen’s denial of Spruill’s obvious participation in a police and state prosecution investigation, and the fact that Judge Romani actually signed the applications and approved the request for the use of eavesdropping devices in the case could easily be interpreted as complicity in denying the defendant Valdez Jordan the right to a fair and impartial trial under the law. It appears that the state along side judge Charles Romani attempted to deliberately conceal the fact that Spruill had participated in eavesdropping activities which targeted Valdez Jordan, at the behest of state prosecutors (Read the official Eavesdropping documents here).

Additionally, the witnesses that Mr. Jordan told Judge Romani that he believed could testify on behalf of his defense, were never called during the trial, appeared to be no shows, and the defense counsel never requested a continuance or asked for time to present those witnesses before the jury. TPC has since conducted multiple interviews with one of those witnesses and learned that she (Monique Kimble) did in fact appear at the courthouse on the day of the trial, was placed in a room to await what she thought would be her opportunity to testify at the trial, but she was allegedly told by Alton police detective Shane Gibbs (the same cop who interviewed her on the morning of the homicide at the “crap house”) that her testimony would not be needed, and that she could go home. Ms. Kimble stated that she was “confused” regarding having been told her testimony wouldn’t be needed, but she says she left because she was intimidated by the police. She also told TPC that she had previously had several arguments with the same officer (Gibbs) during the initial investigation into the “crap house” robbery when she gave her eyewitness account of the shooting).

Ms. Kimble went on to say that she told Det, Gibbs of the Alton police that the shooter wasn’t Valdez Jordan, and that she thought the perpetrator looked like “Jarvis Brown” or maybe another man they called “Chuckie.” She said that Gibbs kept trying to get her to change her statement, and that the things Gibbs wrote down weren’t what she had told him. So, she says they had several arguments back and forth. She also claims that she felt intimidated by Gibbs and believed that Alton police had been harassing her son. She apparently was so fearful, that she eventually moved to Missouri away from Alton a short time after the murder trial took place.

Her eyewitness account which very well may have been impactful, was never heard by Valdez Jordan’s trial jury, as her statements corroborated the testimony of a witness who spoke on conditions of anonymity, and a statement given to Alton police by Demond Spruill, who all also placed a man name “Jarvis Brown” on the street outside of the “crap house” immediately after the shooting. Ms. Kimble’s sister (Pamela Burgess) was one of a few witnesses who actually experienced close direct interaction with the perpetrator. Ms. Burgess said she testified at the trial after receiving a subpoena. She told TPC that despite Alton police detective Cooley trying to get her to say that the shooter was Valdez Jordan, she testified to the fact that “the shooter was rude, very disrespectful toward women, calling them bitches, and had pointed the gun directly in her face,” but she couldn’t tell if the perpetrator was Valdez Jordan. She also said that she never told the police this, but that she was close enough to him to see “the complexion of his skin (light skin) and that he appeared to be much lighter than Valdez Jordan,” she said.

After conducting interviews with various witnesses, reviewing various official court documents and other valuable information related to this case, TPC has discovered extremely disturbing information regarding “Jarvis Brown.” It was learned that Brown actually lived on old Brittney Court (now Maple Manor) off Washington Avenue in Alton for a few years around the time of the “crap house” killing. Brown who lived with and dated a much older woman name Robin (a female cousin of Monique Kimble and Pamela Burgess) was a teenager known to rob people within the community, and had relocated to the state of Indiana a few years after the Kenneth Spann murder. His close relationship to Ms. Kimble’s Cousin afforded her the advantage of possibly identifying him as the “crap house” shooter, which she actually did in her police statement, but they apparently ignored her account, left it out of the report, and used intimidation tactics to suppress her statement from the jury.

Now, some of Brown’s violent behavior has been discovered through official records from the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana in which they even sought the death penalty for Brown (Read Jarvis Brown’s federal court Death Penalty document here). Brown along with his associates engaged in a crime spree in which they were robbing “gambling houses” (the exact kind of illegal after hour and covert establishments like the Alton “crap house”) and an article on the Federal Bureau of Investigations website potentially brings new light pertaining to Brown’s possible involvement in the Alton “crap house” robbery to bare. In fact, in 2009 Jarvis Brown was convicted in a federal criminal case that was the result of a coordinated state and federal law enforcement investigation, including agents and officers from the Indianapolis Police Department Robbery/Homicide Unit, the Evansville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Evansville Safe Streets Task Force.

Brown plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, one count of interference with commerce by threats or violence; three counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence resulting in death, and one count of tampering with a witness resulting in death. These revelations in relationship to the trial and conviction of Valdez Jordan are simply incredulous when considering the nature of the details entailed in Brown’s charges in the case, and especially considering the fact that various witnesses either testified to seeing Brown on the street in Alton outside of the “crap house” after the shooting, or believed that the shooter looked like him is extremely compelling towards Brown’s potential culpability to having been the actual shooter that night in Alton.

In the Indiana case Brown was charged with a 2005 Indianapolis to Evansville crime spree that included Brown and several associates, which left four persons dead. Brown’s group of heavily armed and violent cocaine and marijuana dealers operating in Indianapolis went on a crime spree that ultimately resulted in a series of approximately 13 drug dealer robberies, three attempted gambling house robberies, approximately 13 shootings, three gun murders, four gun assaults wherein the victims sustained permanent and life threatening injuries and one witness murder.

In addition to Indianapolis, where most of the incidents took place, Brown, the ringleader of the group, together with several associates also traveled to Evansville, and committed one of the robbery/murders. The weapons used by the group included a Tech-9 machine pistol, SKS assault rifles, shotguns and various handguns. The bloody trail came to an end on January 1, 2006, after Brown and several of his associates within a 24 hour period committed the murder and attempted murder of two individuals in Indianapolis. They were subsequently apprehended by officers of the Indianapolis Police Department after a high speed car chase through the near east side of the city. Jarvis Brown was subsequently sentenced to 5 consecutive life sentences plus 20 years, and is now being held at the United States Penitentiary Pollock, in Pollock Louisiana.

When we consider the statements given to police by witnesses on the scene around the time of the Alton “crap house” shooting, such as Monique Kimble, Gardell L. Ballinger, who both placed Jarvis Brown at the crime scene. (Read Gardell Ballinger’s statement to police here), it’s just difficult not to imagine that if Alton police had simply followed up on this particular lead in the case, then its quite possible that lives may not have been lost. That’s of course if Brown was actually the perpetrator who killed Kenneth Spann during the “crap house” robbery, and not Valdez Jordan as Alton Police and state prosecutors allege. TPC has learned that it was rumored and widely believed on the streets of Alton shortly after the killing of Kenneth Spann, that Jarvis Brown was in fact the person who commit the crime for which Mr. Jordan took the fall for, and some eyewitnesses on the scene apparently told Alton police as much (one even claim he saw Brown with a gun in his hand). Hell, even the state’s star “professional snitch” Demond Spruill gave police a statement that put Brown on the street outside the “crap house” after the shooting.

Spruill’s mentioning of Brown in a police report is highly suspicious though, as it was hearsay which he claimed that Jarvis Brown and a man name Kareem Hamilton gave him the details of what happened at the “crap house” the previous day, and appears to only serve as an explanation of his (Brown’s) presence on the street during those early morning hours. It was a cleverly plotted out statement orchestrated by Alton police that some believe was to rebut the constant mentioning of Brown’s presence on the street at the time of the crime by eyewitnesses who knew him as a “stick up” man, known to rob people in the city of Alton. Besides, even one of the state’s witnesses testified during the trial that he also saw Jarvis Brown with a gun in his hand on the street after the shooting.

Besides, the hearsay comments that Spruill gave to police doesn’t align with the very detailed account of witnesses inside of the “crap house” who stared down the perpetrator’s gun in fear for their lives. Spruill’s recounting of Valdez Jordan’s allege confession to him is in fact contradictory to the statement of Gardell Ballinger, Jarvis Brown’s allege statement, and the witness who spoke on anonymity, and were either inside of the “crap house” or was on the street outside and only saw the aftermath of the shooting (Read Demond Spruill’s statement to police here). Even more disturbing is the fact that Alton police puts Jarvis Brown’s allege statement on record via their “professional snitch” Spruill. Other witnesses of the crime told TPC that Alton Police drove to St Louis Missouri to get them to come in and give a statement, but despite the constant mentioning of Jarvis Brown (who resided a short distance away in Alton) being on the street after the shooting, to this day he has never been questioned by police officials, and that alone is an extraordinary element of this tragic story that is simply incredulous.

The accounts of various witnesses apparently fell upon death ears, and people say they believe that once police discovered that Valdez Jordan was at the “crap house” at some point on the day of the shooting, the cops developed tunnel vision and focused in on Jordan who they had decided was going to take the blame for this crime (Read the FBI article on Jarvis Brown Here).

Jeffrey Ewing

Now serving a mandatory life sentence at the Menard Correctional Center of the Illinois State Division of Corrections in Chester Illinois, Jeffrey Ewing is accused of handing an associate of his “Gangster Disciples” street gang a weapon to kill a man. Dwight Riddlespringer was gunned down in the parking lot of an Alton Illinois nightclub in front of hundreds of eyewitnesses. Clifton Wheeler was charged and subsequently convicted for the murder of Riddlespriger, a brazing crime that eventually landed at the doorstep of Jeffrey Ewing, who allegedly told Wheeler “handle business” before putting the gun in his hand, but that’s only circumstantial evidence at best, and it would require belief in Ewing’s ability to order killings of others at will to convict him. That’s what the state told his trial jury and that’s exactly what happened.

However, Ewing’s conviction isn’t that simple, as state prosecutors implored a familiar tactic to drive home it’s arguments to establish Ewing as the person who gave an order to have a man killed. His case like that of James Evans, Larry Greer, and Valdez Jordan was weak. It had no direct evidence, hearsay witness statements, and was primarily predicated on an allege confession by Ewing to a professional “jail house” snitch (none other than Demond Spruill himself) who testified for the state in 8-9 other murder cases, where he claimed the respective defendants had all confessed to him in their unrelated homicide cases.

Official court documents show how Spruill cut a deal with the state in exchange for his testimony against Ewing, like he had done before in all of the cases in which he appeared as the state’s star witness. He acted as a confidential informant (CI) in Ewing’s case like he routinely did when state cases were weak, had no supporting evidence, and involved defendants that police wanted desperately to arrest and have prosecuted. Spruill claims that Jeffrey Ewing confessed to him also. Testifying that defendants allegedly confessed to him is where Spruill was utilized best by the state. Some in Alton say it was widely known throughout the Madison County jail who Demond “Duke” Spruill was, and his special relationship was with state prosecutors and police. They say when the state had a high profile case with very little evidence, they used Spruill’s services, provided him with discovery documents in a defendant’s case, told him to study it, and add something to it to create the appearance that defendants had actually confessed to him. Victims of Spruill’s unique skill set say “he is very good at what he does,” and one of the main reasons why state prosecutor Kieth Jensen continuously utilized his services.

During an interview with Jeffrey Ewing from the Menard Correctional Center, he told TPC that he never confessed to Demond Spruill or anyone else. He further states that he was a drug dealer on the streets, but wasn’t the leader of the “Gangster Disciples” gang as police and prosecutors have alleged. Without the testimony of Demond Spruill (who repeatedly broke the law and made deals for his freedom) the state wouldn’t have had a solid case against Jeffrey Ewing. Additional information is being investigated regarding the convictions of Jeffrey Ewing (Read an excerpt from an official court transcript related to a plea deal given to Demond Spruill related to the Jeffrey Ewing case here).

Demond Spruill Factor

One of the most troubling aspects of this entire story is the state’s constant recycled use of professional “jailhouse” snitch Demond “Duke” Spruill. He is a convicted felon who routinely broke the law, and it seems he only had to make a phone call to Madison County Sheriff Bradley Wells, and he would be able to broker a deal for his release that only required the usual stipulations (testify on behalf of the state). That became his regular job it seems, as a higher court even eviscerated the Madison County’s prosecutor’s office in a ruling on the Jeremy Brown case. The court expressed concern that Spruill who had been sentenced to 8 years for a handgun violation in 1997, was incredibly found and arrested on the street in 1999 again with a gun (How was that even possible).

TPC has obtained an official handwritten court order signed by judge Ann Callis, which allowed Spruill to be on electronic home monitoring, but essentially directed him to cooperate, participate, and testify in any and all matters when requested by the state prosecutor’s office. It appears to be a contract that bind Spruill to future court proceedings of the state. The order originated out of court case 97-CF-2566 involving Demond Spruill, and is dated March 24, 1999. An argument could be made here (based upon the wording of the order), that Spruill was in fact made a legal agent of the state prosecutor’s office, that he had an ongoing and continuous deal, and apparently was required to testify for prosecutors on demand. Judge Callis’ order also revealed that Spruill had already been cooperating with County prosecutors in criminal cases, and her court order appeared to make it official, like it was a “marriage license.” Any assertion that Spruill didn’t make a deal for his testimony in any court proceedings after March 24, 1999 arguably was in fact perjured testimony that prosecutor’s knew about. Prosecutors had a duty to reveal any and all deals made with Spruill, but routinely failed to disclose his special relationship with county prosecutors (Read Judge Callis’ court order here).

Demond Spruill repeatedly broke the law and despite being a career criminal with a record that spans over a 30 year period, his unique skill set has allowed him to elude extensive prison time while continually committing violent crimes, and then being rewarded with his freedom again and again, once he provided testimony services to the Madison County prosecutor’s office. The open ended deal that Spruill officially had with state prosecutors (despite having shot a man, beat people, and committed home invasions) was ordered before the criminal trials of James Evans, Larry Greer, Valdez Jordan, and Jeffrey Ewing respectively. The manner in which the Madison County courts utilized Demond Spruill to say defendants confessed to murder during so many unrelated cases is simply unconscionable, and his extensive criminal record clearly demonstrated how he had a license to violate the law any way he pleased with impunity (View a history of Demond Spruill’s criminal record here).

Political Prisoners

All four of these men have been incarcerated within the state of Illinois Division of Corrections for over 20 years. They have all lost their initial direct appeals to the original trial courts (normal) and are in “Post Conviction.” Each of them have valid claims that either disclose the unfairness of their trial(s) resulting in conviction, or have obtained new evidence that potentially points to their innocence. The only problem is the Madison County courts, that won’t allow their claims to be fully developed, to be adjudicated upon, and allow their cases to be prayed before a higher court of law. If we look at their cases collectively for errors, baring the ironic testimony of state sponsored “jailhouse” snitches like Demond Spruill, we learn that their cases have all been held in a holding pattern.

The state of Illinois has long established that “post conviction” proceedings should take just a little more than a year to conclude. However, James Evans, Larry Greer, Valdez Jordan, and Jeffrey Ewing cases have been in “post conviction” for at least 18 years, and appears to be a deliberate stalling tactic which precludes their cases from being viewed by a higher court. So how long will it take for the Madison County courts to follow the law and move these cases forward? Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent a defendant from being held in jail infinitely, and allows for intervention by the federal government, to challenge their custody or confinement. A convict can file a federal Writ of Habeas Corpus to request oversight related to their case, in and effort to protect constitutionally guaranteed rights.

In the cases of James Evans and Valdez Jordan at least (who both filed federal writs due to the extensive inordinate delay in their cases), their prayers to the federal courts seemingly were even stalled by the Madison County courts as well. Evans’ “writ” was initially accepted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit of Illinois, and then in a suspicious turn of events, a newly appointed Judge that was promoted out of Madison County Illinois to a federal post, conveniently became assigned to Evan’ “writ” request. Needless to say, it was subsequently denied.

Similarly, Valdez Jordan’s federal “writ” met a snag as well, but in Jordan’s case, it appears that court officials broke the law. Upon Madison County courts having been put on notice of the “writ,” a hearing was scheduled which only appeared to be solely for the purpose of preempting intervention by the federal courts. Mr. Jordan was assigned attorney Randy Hale (a former law partner of state prosecutor Kieth Jensen, who prosecuted Valdez Jordan in the case which is under appeal). Hale appeared for the court hearing without any documents related to the case what so ever, according to Mr. Jordan. It was an act which Jordan told TPC “it angered him,” and caused an argument in the courtroom between Jordan and attorney Hale.

The dispute was so disruptive that the judge hearing the case intervened to inquire as to the nature of their dispute. Jordan says he expressed to the court his concern regarding attorney Hale not having any documents pertaining to his case, and requested that the court direct him to obtain a copy from the court clerk. The judge honored the request, but Hale performed so badly during Jordan’s “writ” hearing that it prompted him to file a complaint with the state of Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) against attorney Hale. To Mr. Jordan’s surprise, it was discovered that Mr. Randy Hale was in fact no longer a registered attorney in the state of Illinois. The ARDC advised Mr. Jordan that Hale hadn’t been qualified (didn’t have a professional license) to practice law in the state for over 5 years.

Mr. Jordan says that on the day of his complaint, the courts subsequently terminated Randy Hale, but asserts that court officials had to have known that Hale wasn’t licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois, and believes that the appointment of Hale to his “writ” hearing was simply another tactic by the Madison County courts to deny him due process under the law. Valdez Jordan filed a lawsuit regarding the Randy Hale incident, and is currently mounting an appeal to his original federal “writ” request, because he essentially wasn’t afforded a hearing at all due to having been appointed an unlicensed attorney (Read Valdez Jordan’s litigation documents against Madison County here).

Alternatively, I’m certain that Madison County officials can muster up rationalizations to refute Mr. Jordan’s claims, or for any one of the individual stumbling blocks that seem to constantly fall in the pathway of final resolution in all of these cases, but as it has been clearly demonstrated here by just a sample of a volume of official documents of the record showcased in this article, an extremely damning portrayal is revealed of the Madison County courts, its system of justice, and the policing tactics of some within its law enforcement agencies. The process of moving through the appellate courts are long and burdensome enough for those seeking relief, and it is exacerbated when those who are convicted are denied their constitutional rights.

Looking at their cases from a broad overall perspective, considering the evidence which proves that officials broke the law, and seem to refuse to allow their appellate cases to be fully developed should raise a red flag. Although they were all convicted of very heinous crimes of violence, the state’s cases against them collectively were all born out of suspicious investigative work of the Madison County Sheriffs department, Alton city police, and was executed in the courts through hearsay testimony from known criminals who brokered back door deals with dirty, corrupt, and extremely evil law enforcement officials. These officials who not only destroyed the lives of all of these men and many others, may have even denied the families of the subject homicide victims in their cases the closure that most grieving families seek. It is quite plausible that the actual killers who committed these crimes may in fact still be at large, and that’s a very frightening reality for any community.

The Attorney General of Illinois Kwama Raoul ran on a criminal justice reform platform and has been very vocal regarding his commitment to insuring that torture chambers like the one John Burge of the Chicago police created never occurs again. In fact the AG continues to promote the highly touted Conviction Integrity Unit in Cook County Illinois, which was born out of the Burge ordeal after the full extent of how tortures were occurring to force confessions from innocent people. While such efforts should be applauded pertaining to this vital safeguard of public safety, Mr. Raoul must be mindful that Cook County doesn’t represent the the entire state of Illinois.

I’ve personally spent three years researching, reading court documents, and interviewing people related to some of these cases, and all though some of the injustices were committed during the height of America’s war on drugs, the reminisce of “good ole boy” style justice, and archaic “sundown town” ideology in Madison County continues to linger and is still just as pervasive in 2021, as it was during the American “Jim Crow” south era. An investigation into how Demond Spruill was utilized by law enforcement officials to send defendants to prison for decades is at least warranted related to these cases. The record is so disturbing that it possibly explains why court officials refuse to adjudicate the claims of these defendants. Madison County appears to be an out of control system of injustice, where there are those who are wrongfully convicted and held in captivity for the purpose of maintaining political expediency.

Mr. Raoul, if there was ever an opportunity to honor the promises you promoted during your political campaign, Madison County Illinois is without a doubt the grassroots benchmark to initiate the kind of criminal justice reform you promised, and your constituents in Southern Illinois so desperately need. Mr. Raoul we challenge you to do something to make a change, to make a difference, and go to Madison County Illinois. I only wish that I could personally have done more to aid suffering people. God speed.

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David Adams

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: When America Wasn’t Watching, Some Sheriffs Policing Tactics In A Southern Illinois County Were A Monstrosity


The phrase “contempt of cop” has very little meaning to the lay person outside of the criminal justice system, but it is powerful language and a phrase some use to describe what happened to Rodney King (when four Los Angeles police officers were captured on film repeatedly beating King with batons), or what some also say happened to Freddie Gray (who sustained critical injuries while in Baltimore City police custody, and subsequently died days later as a result of those injuries).

While Rodney King survived the vicious and brutal attack he endured that fateful night back in 1991, a direct parallel can be made between his and Gray’s cases. Both were known to the respective police agencies that became the subject of national scrutiny as a result of their encounters having been filmed and then aired on national news outlets. Both had prior brushes with the police, and some debate whether they were in fact victims of “contempt of cop” style justice, which typically occurs due to police frustrations after repeated arrest of a known criminal that doesn’t result in meaningful punishment of the subject, or an inability of cops to obtain sufficient evidence of a crime for which a targeted subject is suspected of committing. The frustrations usually lead to drastic and often times illegal measures by police to have the subject incarcerated with substantial prison time by any means necessary.

The most egregious case of this kind of justice is when cops pushed the envelope into full “frame up” mode, as depicted in the (Denzel Washington Oscar Nominated role) film “The Hurricane,” which was based on the real life story of former professional boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was framed and subsequently wrongfully convicted of murder in a Patterson New Jersey triple homicide case. that a federal court tossed out after he spent nearly two decades in prison. Just like Rodney King and Freddie Gray, Rubin Carter was known to police, with a rap sheet that spanned back to his youth as a juvenile offender, and was targeted with “contempt of cop” style justice by dirty cops and corrupt prosecutors who framed him simply because they felt he belonged behind bars.

Fortunately, Carter garnered help from supporters outside of the state of New Jersey’s highly political justice system. A student’s first book “The Sixteenth Round,” written by Carter himself, led to the eventual belief in his innocence and laid the ground work that eventually resulted in Carter’s release from prison. The evidence which pointed to Carter’s framing was so overwhelming, despite Carter having two jury trials that resulted in convictions and were both subsequently upheld by the New Jersey state Supreme Court, his conviction was tossed out by a federal court on first review of the case record. The case of Rubin Carter highlighted how some law enforcement officials, while in their official capacity, acted as complete monsters and meted out the demise of a man that drew the ire of police who sought their own brand of criminal justice.

Public Fear

Prior to the highly publicized beating of Rodney King that was aired nationally and resulted in the “Watts Riots” (1992), following the unanticipated acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers by a Simi Valley jury, most of America outside of marginalized communities were completely ignorant to the inner workings of the American justice system. For many, the police reports of officers sworn to uphold the law were like the gospel, and if they ever witnessed police beating someone the general consensus was that the subject probably deserved it. In fact, some communities even welcomed such heavy handed police actions, especially during the period in this country that was considered to be associated with the war on drugs, due to the violence and devastating impact drug culture inflicted upon communities all across our nation.

The carnage that drugs, gang violence, and other crimes left behind created an epidemic that resulted in widespread fear, and in many community’s residence were rendered hostages within their own homes. The outcry for relief resulted in federal dollars being allocated for crime initiatives such as the “Safe Streets Task Force” (a coordinated effort with the combined resources of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies focused on violent street crime). For decades now, since federal task force initiatives were boots on the ground fighting a so called war on drugs, the fear that engulfed our country gave way to a heavy handed culture of policing which pretty much gave law enforcement “carte blanche” to deal with serious violent crime and the drug epidemic anyway they saw fit. Such widespread policing gave way to criminal activity within police agencies who took full advantage.

A seemingly unwritten law pertaining to probable cause was born (meaning screw a citizen’s rights), and a new norm for policing was established, as long as cops associated crimes with drugs and street violence, police tactics were not only supported by the American public, but also appeared to be upheld by the courts. The stigma of the “thug”, “hoodlum”, and “gangster” gave new meaning to America’s number one public enemy, that far too many times fell at the doorstep of black youth, latinos, and other minority and marginalized groups in our country. The “Authoritative” nature of certain police agencies seem to erode the very fundamental constitutional rights of American citizens, and was largely justified due to fear and public outcry. The urgency to end urban violence as a result of drug culture may have blindsided the American public, who to this day still may not have fully grasped exactly how far the law actually went to justify some of its prosecutions that put alleged criminal subjects away for decades.

A Reflective Mirror

Admittedly, I found myself trapped inside of a bubble of fear also, having grown up in one of America’s epicenters of violence in the state of Maryland’s East Baltimore, and like most Americans I have also long fostered a visceral hatred for drugs, addicts, and the violence associated with such culture. Luckily for me though, I have developed a posture of objectivity, and I am glad I did, especially when considering what I learned about stories such as the wrongful conviction of James Evans out of Alton Illinois. I have been reeducated it seems, as I thought I knew about most of the ills that plague our society and how our justice system works. I thought that stories about how police can frame an innocent man were only mere incidents of fiction played out on television dramas like in “The Hurricane”.

Although I firmly believe that most Americans want to live in communities free of crime and violence, I’m also convinced we’re collectively opposed to the “rogue cop” mentality which has permeated some police agencies with impunity that rose from America’s synthetic war on drugs. Now decades later, a new generation has inherited our failures that we’ve tried desperately to ignore as a society. You see, its our fear and lack of indulgence that has caused our own justice system to degenerate into the broken, unfair, and prejudicial institution of law enforcement that exist today, and prior to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the posture of the average American was “not my business not my problem”.

So, the battle cries for equality in America, while not a new phenomenon, is currently in a fight against a system of law that has run rampid while trampling the constitutional rights of Americans both secretively and overtly. Now we are all faced with the self reflective realization that what’s actually wrong with the American Justice System falls directly upon the American people themselves. The over policing of poor communities in neighborhoods of color, followed by the importation of guns and drugs is what led to the carnage and fear that consumed our nation, while white America stood by silent, which resulted in many of their neighborhoods being just as vulnerable to bad policing within their communities as well.

Madison County Illinois

In many cities across America there is now tremendous push back against policing as a hyper sensitivity toward police aggression, and a lack of appetite for certain methods of enforcing the law that were once deemed acceptable, has now evolved into a completely new perspective within the American public, which has stringently demanded oversight, accountability, and police reform. The country now awaits legislation on what politicians and advocates alike say is badly needed redevelopment of our justice system.

However, just like drug culture left a devasting path of carnage, addiction, and suffering within many American cities, many say the same regarding American policing. There have been many families destroyed by bad policing, “contempt of cop” style justice, and corruption by many state prosecutors. In fact, there are municipalities such as Madison County Illinois that have a reputation of corruption so disturbing, that even President George W. Bush called its courts a “judicial hell hole.”

It certainly isn’t my intention to indict an entire county’s justice system in some kind of anti police spirit of hatred and without provocation, but when compelling evidence exist which is so bad and monstrous even, an intelligent mind must seriously ponder how such behavior can be tolerated and acceptable by any American system of law. Is it possible that a County Sheriff solicited the killing of a man solely because he believed the man killed someone? Is it possible for the same Sheriff to pay witnesses to falsely testify before a Grand Jury to obtain an indictment against a man in a murder, when the sheriff knew that the alleged victim was still alive, and then suppressed credible exculpatory evidence that suggest the alleged murder victim was still alive? Is it possible for the sheriff and state prosecutors to use a so called informant to falsely claim that nearly 10 murder suspects all individually confessed committing a murder to him? Is it possible for the sheriff to manufacture false evidence against a suspect to knowingly falsely have the suspect convicted? Is it even possible that the sheriff and prosecutor lied in open court to conceal their wrong doing, and arrogantly admited to their crimes in open court of other cases? Is it all even possible?

The questions I pose aren’t meant to be rhetorical, in fact as a crime blogger who has viewed thousands of documents, including affidavits, court transcripts of actual trial testimony, sentencing hearings and interviewed people within Madison County with intricate detail related to the case of James Evans, and I can answer all of those questions with the affirmative words of “yes.” The evidence is so compelling that I have committed nearly three years of my life advocating for a man that I don’t know from a can of paint, in an effort to expose the state and federal crimes that were committed during the prosecution of Mr. Evans and others.

However, such a commitment doesn’t come without challenges. Our team has been beating the legal streets to solicit support to garner the national exposure that such an egregious case such as this rightfully deserves, and time after time we are faced with the task of having to qualify Mr. Evans’ innocence, or being queried about why people should believe him, and although the case against Evans is very convoluted, the record of his case clearly establishes that the state case was highly circumstantial with paid testimony, suppression of exculpatory evidence, manufactured evidence, and back door deals with known criminals in exchange for testimony, and proven perjured testimony by police and prosecutors alike (a volume of articles highlight the totality of the wrongful conviction of James Evans, but the case is best summarized in the article Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The Incredible But Surreptitious Conviction Of James Evans Summarized).

its simply a matter of time before the sheets are completely pulled off the dirty business of Madison County Illinoiso, as grassroot efforts always take considerable amount of time, but gradually through brick and mortar, the evil that was done in the case of James Evans will lay bare exposing some real evil bastards who broke the law and sent an innocece man to prison while destroying his family in the process. The reality of knowing paid public officials committed crimes this heinous demonstrates that actions of police agencies across America like the Madison County Sheriffs Office were a complete monstrosity while people were wrongfully sent to prison for decades on America’s watch. (To read more articles about the case of James Evans, simply type James Evans in the blog’s search engine at the top right to populate a list of previous articles about his fight for freedom).

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David Adams

The Killing Fields Of America’s Black Youth: Shrevport Louisiana Teen Shamia Little Found Dead

It’s a tragic story that has played out over and over again in communities all across this nation. The sudden lost of a child of color who met a horrific end at the hands of a violent offender. Her name was Shamia Little (17), who Cabbo Parrish police in West Shrevport Louisiana say went missing on July 6, 2021 after an incident involving Little and her 17-year-old boyfriend in the Doug Williams Park, and where they were accosted by an assailant brandishing a gun and robbed the teens.

A local report indicates that at least one witness told police that Little was abducted, but its unclear whether that witness was in fact the pretty teen’s boyfriend or someone else in the park at the time of the crime. Police have told media outlets that the boyfriend ran off to call police to report the robbery, but upon the cops arrival, Little had in fact vanished. Little’s body was presumptively identified a week later, after being discovered behind a business in the 4100 block of Curtis Lane, and not far from where she disappeared.

The authorities have already ruled Little’s death a case of homicide, and say there is evidence at the crime scene that may suggest how she died, but didn’t indicate whether they had actually found a murder weapon. Its a very harsh and difficult reality to digest for many, how a teen girl in the company of a male friend could just disappear like that, which leaves a volume of unanswered questions about the initial account police have circulated regarding the case. For instance, why did the boyfriend just run off to call the cops (an interesting detail considering the current age of digital technology where almost everyone within society has a cellphone) as oppose to running off, or running away with Little in tow, and while calling police together in the process?

The fact that the teens obviously became separated is an extremely disturbing element regarding what happened that arguably doesn’t set well with most followers of this story, especially parents with female children. It’s like a broken record that has been heard countless times involving the duty of a male to responsibly insure the safety of any female in their company (at least that’s how we were raised), and there is no excuse that can be offered, barring intense fear or outright cowardice, to justify abandoning a female in a crisis such as this.

I don’t know, maybe I’m too critical and lack the full context of what actually happened on that fateful night, but I couldn’t resist the obvious lack of protective and survival instincts demonstrated by this teen’s boyfriend. I mean her body was found only a block away from where she was allegedly abducted. Where the hell did this boy run to? There are homes adjacent to the park. If he didn’t have a cellphone, did he run to a neighboring residence to ask for assistance or to use a phone there? Why didn’t he alert someone in the community and then follow or keep track of where his girlfriend was being taken? Did he just flat out run in outright cower?

I’m sorry, but as a father of a female child these are the kinds of actions that I would expect any male in the company of my daughter to perform in a critical moment such as this. This story stinks and smells of foul circumstances that very well may not pan out exactly how the cops have framed their initial investigation of events that led to the tragic and senseless death of yet another young black female child. Perhaps it’s a parent’s worst nightmare when news comes, that their missing child has been found behind a business, in a field like littered trash. The agonizing thought of what your kid must have gone through in her final moments, plays like a very sad song, over and over again, in the minds of her family and friends.

Shamia Little’s death regardless of how the circumstances surrounding her killing unfolds, is a gut punch to Black America, as the death toll of America’s black youth continues to rise without any sign of relenting. it’s a killing field that is very familiar to The People’s Champion Blog, after bringing awareness to another tragic Louisiana case in 2012 involving a 15-year-old mother of a young baby name Keiosha Felix (Where Is Keiosha Felix), who disappeared under suspicious circumstances after reports circulated that the teen may have been sexually abused by family members, Felix has never been found.

At a time in our country when racial tensions are high and the battle cry is “Black Lives Matter,” it appears that such a slogan is more idealistic than a realistic perspective within the black community itself. The killing fields of America are drenched with the blood of young black kids just like Shamia Little who some how got whisked away without warning, and just like countless other killings of young black children, their parents are left with grieving thoughts of how this could have happened. It’s simply another very sad commentary. We have to do better as a community to protect our black and brown babies.

(The family of late Shamia Little (17) has asked for the public’s help in putting their beautiful daughter to rest, Donations can be made to her GoFundMe campaign)

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David Adams

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: Region Where James Evans Was Wrongfully Convicted Has Racist Past Of Sundown Towns

The small Midwest town of Alton Illinois is nestled along side the Mississippi River in Southern Illinois, and just a stone’s toss away from the site of the landmark Dred Scott case (a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court in which the Court held that the US Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for black people) in nearby Missouri. Hidden away from the glare and spotlights of modern big cities in Illinois such as Chicago to the north, Alton and similar surrounding communities like East Alton, Wood River, Glen Carbon, and Edwardsville have a storied past related to race relations.

While the lynching of German immigrant Robert Pragger on April 5, 1918 in Collinsville is probably the mostly referenced incident of mob style justice in Madison County, that historians blame on propaganda circulated by the United States government at the height of World War I, and during very strong anti German sentiment in America, an active culture of disdain for social integration of the races was also very prevalent, as many of these southern Illinois towns didn’t have residence of color until well into the 1960’s. It was a known but unwritten law that blacks were well aware of, that prohibited them from being caught in certain towns at night. In fact, some of these towns excluded black people from its city limits entirely during the day as well as the night fall.

The turbulant times of racial struggles in the deep south of America has always been earmarked as the battle ground for racial equality in this country, but most are ignorant to the fact that their were societal codes pertaining to race relations in America’s heartland as well. To this day there are people in the city of Alton who claim that race relations are still a very troubling reality, especially in the Madison County court system. Black communities are overly policed and citizens of color are more likely to be pinched for petty crimes than their white counterparts who are similarly situated.

Some in Alton say that the “law” will go through extraordinary lengths to arrest, prosecute, and secure convictions of blacks who are seen as uppity “n***ers,” who need to be put in their place. They say a man name James Evans is one of those type of black men who was targeted by dirty white cops. People have told TPC that the cops and prosecutors have a history of allowing violent criminals to roam free, as long as they gave pertinent information pertaining to a target they were focusing on arresting and prosecuting.

That’s a far cry from the shotgun toting all white mob that combed the woods of East Alton back in the late 1890s, while in pursuit of a black male who allegedly committed a crime in town (considering how a mere allegation or just plain suspicion alone, was once upon a time sufficient evidence for blood thirsty mobs that were eager to toss a rope on high to lynch a colored person, whether he actually committed the crime is more than likely tenuous at best). That alleged subject got away, but his escape angered citizens in the town so much that they vowed to never let another person of color live in their community ever again.

The town pretty much achieved that for nearly 7 decades, but while many of those Southern Illinois towns are no longer considered “Sun Down” towns, others claim that blacks are still being lynched in Madison County. Only now they’re called legal lynchings, carried out in a court of law (in Madison County at least). There is sufficient evidence (if anyone cared to look) deeply woven into various court cases involving violent offenders, that shows nowadays they’re actually allowing violent criminals to roam free in exchange for perjured testimony in cases where they say some officials brand of justice could be predicated on superficial premises, or for no other provocation than a guy mouthed off at law enforcement officials in a court house.

Its amazing how towns that were once bent on meting out justice through mob violence, has transformed into a “paper tiger” justice system where murderers and other violent felons are stock holders in backdoor deals that has allowed them to get off the hook for crimes or due miniscule bids in prison for some serious violent crimes. It all depends on who the players are (I guess) and the depth of their desire to put a subject away (for life if possible). That’s why the conviction of James Evans is so baffing (the latest on James Evans Conviction), and to think that law enforcement officials went as far as breaking the law themselves to convict a man with no history of violence whatsoever, adds a lot of fuel to what some Alton residence told TPC regarding how the justice system works in Madison County.

During one interview it was made very clear that allowing a violent black person to roam the streets could be looked upon as a “blessing in disguise” for some racist cops in the Madison County Sheriffs department (like Bradley Wells), because “as long as they are killing other black people, letting them out of jail is practical, besides they could get them on something else later anyway.” As long as white folks weren’t victims of some of these crimes, its really not a big deal.” and that’s where they say Evans drew the ire of cops and the Madison County prosecutors office. He was allegedly selling dope in the community, and its a well known fact that most of the people who are consumers of illegal recreational drugs are in fact a volume of white people. An intelligent, cocky, and smart ass mouthed drug dealer is how they say cops looked upon Evans. An a well orchestrated and intricately woven conspiracy is believed to have been implemented to take him down and off the streets forever.

I’m sure that in the minds of some people, they believe that Evans got what he deserved and that may be a tremendous resolve from their posture, but they should also be cautioned to take notice of the manner in which Madison County prosecutors achieved obtaining a conviction of Evans. First off it should be noted again that prior to his trials for murder and conspiracy to commit murder back in the mid to late1990’s, Evans didn’t even have as much as a school yard skirmish on his record as it pertains to violence. Moreover, in the nearly 23 years since he has been incarcerated, Evans hasn’t had a history of any violence behind prison walls either (that’s simply a miraculous feet). Yet, court records show that some pretty violent felons were cut lose for their suspicious testimony to help the state nail Evans. For instance:

  1. There is the well documented Appeals Court reversal of the murder conviction of Jeremy Brown, who is believed to have been a subject in a murder case along side a man name Demond Spruil. Spruil is well known to Madison County prosecutors, because he testified in at least 8 separate murder cases for state prosecutor Keith Jensen. Officials wired Spruill for jailhouse conversations with Brown and after prosecutors achieved a conviction against Brown, Spruill was given leniency as he also did in other murder cases where he claimed the respective defendants had confessed murders to him. An Appeals Court throw out Browns Conviction citing the state’s recycled use of Demond Spruil as an agent of the state who frequently got out of jail after working for the state. Spruil also testified in Evans Trial claiming Evans had confessed. Just like in other unrelated murder cases, some how Spruill ended up in Evans cell, and he obtained another alleged confession for the state prosecutor’s office. Also, Spruill has a well recorded history of violence, and was even initially a suspect in the very murder case for which Evans was subsequently convicted.
  2. Robert Fletcher was also suspiciously released from jail after Madison County police Bradley Wells and another cop from the Sheriffs department visited him in jail, and showed him post mortem images of his best friend Nekemar Pearson, who James Evans was convicted of killing (according to a sworn affidavit by Robert Fletcher). Fletcher claims Wells and another cop allegedly told him that Evans, Clifton Wheeler, and another man name Brian Warr (Evans best friend) were responsible for his best friends murder. Fletcher and Pearson were both alleged “Crip gang” members, and people familiar with the streets of Alton around that time say that cops should have known that letting Fletcher out of jail would result in yet another murder. They suspiciously released Fletcher and he subsequently killed Brian Warr. TPC was advised that if James Evans had been standing on the streets of Alton that night along side Warr, that he most likely would have been gunned down by Fletcher also, in retaliation for the murder of his best friend. They say the blood of Brian Warr is on the cops hands because they knew what would happen once Fletcher hit the streets, Another classic example of how Madison County allowed violent criminals the opportunity to roam free within the community.
  3. Clifton Wheeler is probably best known as a blazingly violent felon who shot and killed a man name Dwight Riddlesprigger in broad daylight in front of dozens of eye witnesses. Court records show as a matter of fact, that state prosecutor Keith Jensen brokered a deal that allowed Wheeler to serve a minimum sentence for two allege murders, in exchange for his cooperation in the state’s prosecution of James Evans. Wheeler would eventually testify for the state against Evans at his trial, and court records show that Wheeler committed perjury on the witness stand, and Jensen actually broke the law himself by concealing the plea arrangement that he accepted in Wheeler’s criminal case. Wheeler ended up serving a little over 12 years and is still walking free on the streets of Alton this very day.
  4. William Jenkins was also used by the state to help them convict James Evans while granting him leniency for his criminal charges also, but only he returned the favor to state prosecutors by brutalizing and raping an elderly woman after authorities had set him free for his cooperation in the James Evans prosecution.

So you see, at least during that time in Madison County, as long as violent black criminals were committing crimes that were harming other black people, it appeared to be acceptable in the eyes of some law enforcement officials, and a storied past of backdoor deals with some of these very same felons by state prosecutors, who allowed them the opportunity to roam the streets to commit more violent crimes is demonstrative of the extraordinary lengths some of those officials were willing to go in convicting a subject of one of their personally prioritized investigations.

At least three people that were interviewed by TPC say they have been in trouble with the law or have been inside of Bradley Wells office at the Madison County Sheriffs office, and saw with their own eyes a picture of James Evans on his desk along side a photo of his family. That’s probably as personal as it gets when you have a cop who is that obsessed with apprehending an alleged criminal subject, That’s why it should question whether or not their actually was manufactured evidence in the criminal cases of James Evans, after all, Evans has been making this claim since his conviction over 20 years ago, and the courts in Madison County refuse to investigate these allegations.

Maybe the “Sun Down” town mentality still exist and the methodology of dealing with undesirable black folks is just being meted out in a more sophisticated fashion, rather than marching down the hill of Blair Avenue and Alby Street in Alton Illinois like its rumored they used to do in the old days, and string a black person up. Either way, it seems that some things in southern Illinois haven’t changed, and most of it isn’t happening after the sun goes down anymore.

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David Adams


Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The Incredible But Surreptitious Conviction Of James Evans Summarized

When a Madison County Illinois Magistrate slammed his gavel down upon his sentencing of James Evans to the Illinois Division of Corrections for 107 years, after he was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, many believed that Evans would be put away for the duration of his natural life. While many within the community who didn’t have direct knowledge of the intricate details of those cases were resolved in believing the state’s case, and felt that justice had been served. However, justice in Madison County may not necessarily be meted out in the traditional manner when defendants of color are involved.

The State’s case against Evans and others clearly demonstrates that justice should be studied and scrutinized very carefully (especially in Madison County Illinois). Black defendants facing all white juries is common place in a volume of municipalities across America, whether jury pool manipulation is implemented, or insufficient availability of jurors from diverse ethnic backgrounds is the cause, facing all white juries as a colored person is highly probable in a volume of court cases across this country. This dynamic coupled with a perceived general mindset within certain demographics that a black person is perceived guilty long before the ink even dries on their charging documents, and can easily be supported by the number of cases that result in reversals years later after black defendants served decades in prison.

Unfortunately in most criminal cases, the evidence isn’t the only factor involved in how juries arrive at their verdicts. Its the believability of each sides case that’s present during trial in front of the jury. Evans case is prima facia in regards to that argument. as Evans was charged with killing Nekemar Pearson on June 24, 1995 in the town of Alton Illinois. Court documents reveal that Evans who was allegedly a drug dealer, killed Pearson in retaliation for a home invasion at Evans home where he was tied up, tortured, sodomized with a broom handle, and had his vehicle stolen. All in an effort to rob Evans of money suspected to be from drug solicitation proceeds. Pearson, a man name Marcus Holloway, and others carried out the caper unsuccessfully, and didn’t find any money at all. Expensive speakers were removed from Evans vehicle and sold at a local car business.

The speakers were so rare during that time, the shop owners knew exactly who they belonged too. Word got around that Pearson was the individual who sold the speakers, and revealed his potential involvement in the home invasion robbery. Although Evans reported the incident to police no one was ever charged with the crime. Suspiciously though, court records demonstrate that Holloway was interviewed by police, admitted his involvement, the identity of others involved in the robbery, and some how was allowed to walk free out of the police station on the same day he gave cops his statement without being charged with a crime at all. Holloway’s statement to police establishes a potential motive as to why Evans may have wanted to kill Pearson, but while that may sound good to an all white jury, there were a volume of other moving parts in the case that were either suppressed, ignored, or flat out overlooked by jurors at Evans trial.

When viewing the trial transcript its easy to decipher that the state used an information overload style tactic, which may have overwhelmed the jury and prohibited proper analysis of crucial elements of the case. The state presented no evidence at all that directly linked Evans to the murder case forensically. Prosecutors marched hearsay witnesses in the court room one by one to make their case against Evans, a highly circumstantial case at that, from the gate. One by one they gave their testimonies that on the surface appear to directly implicate Evans in the Pearson murder. Some who were in the court room during the trial say that every state witness was ushered into the court room in shackles. Each of them were facing criminal charges of their own and had been transported to the trial from area jails or prisons. Immediately, the state should have faced credibility issues pertaining to their case against Evans, but the jury apparently believed in the states case despite the totality of their evidence against Evans having come from known criminals.

Their case against Evans was obviously problematic from the very start, as highly exculpatory evidence was suppressed from the jury and Evans defense (I’ll delve into that more later in this article). Long after Evans had been convicted, sentenced, and was serving time, new evidence emerged that highlights the highly problematic testimony of two state witness (Demond Spruill and Clifton Wheeler). Spruill’s testimony became highly suspicious when an Appeals Court Judge reversed the unrelated murder conviction of a man name Jeremy Brown. The authorities had wired Spruill for a jailhouse conversation with Brown and utilized the recordings as evidence to convince a jury of his guilt. On appeal the judge admonished state prosecutors after discovering that Spruill had been utilized by the state in at least 8 other murder cases. The Appeals court ruled that the state’s recycled use of Spruill, while allowing him a get out of jail free card from his own criminal charges, essentially gave Spruill a license to commit crimes while acting as an agent for the state.

Spruil was convicted in 1997 of armed robbery and sentenced to 8 years, but was arrested on the streets of Alton in possession of a gun again in 1999. Court records reveal that Spruill testified in Evans case while also claiming that Evans had confessed killing Pearson to him, and while Spruill in fact received leniency for his 1999 weapons charge for his cooperation in testifying against Evans. The jury in Evans trial never heard about Spruill’s constant use as a jailhouse informant nor his plea deal, thereby prejudicing the jury in accepting Spruill’s testimony on its face as fact, which violates Evans right to a fair trial under the law (grounds for a new trial).

Depending on which story you believe, the state never consistently established exactly how Evans allegedly killed Pearson. In one version of the killing, Evans is teamed with Clifton Wheeler and Brian Warr in the Nekemar Pearson murder. Wheeler was also on the hook for seperate murder charges of his own when he testified against James Evans. Wheeler is believed to have killed a man name Dwight Riddlespriger, but brokered a deal with prosecutors for naming Evans as the triggerman in Pearson’s killing. Wheeler essentially pled guilty for two murders in exchange for a 23 year sentence but the judge in that case gave him day for day (meaning a day off his sentence for every good day of time served). People interviewed in Alton say Wheeler was headed to prison any way, and may have falsely implicated himself in the Pearson murder to help the state convict Evans, a roll of the proverbial plea arrangement dice that worked out marvelously for Wheeler, who is walking the streets of Alton this very day after only serving 12 years in prison.

Wheelers testimony fingers Evans as the alleged shooter in the Pearson killing, places himself at the crime seen as an eyewitness, and again appears to provide extremely damaging testimony for the state against Evans defense. Not so fast though, as we must look even closer into Wheeler’s testimony at Evans trial. Like other state witnesses who testified against Evans, We must be mindful that Wheeler was transported to the trial of James Evans in shackles also. His plea agreement sentencing hearing had already taken place, and was contingent on his participation as a witness for the state against Evans. Under direct testimony by state prosecutor Keith Jensen, Wheeler was asked if he had received anything in exchange for his testimony at Evans trial. Wheeler responded “no” while under oath. Court documents from Wheelers sentencing hearing establishes as a matter of fact that Wheeler perjured himself on the witness stand at Evans trial. Moreover, state prosecutor Keith Jensen represented the state in the prosecution of Wheeler and knew as a matter of fact and law, that Wheeler had received leniency ln his own criminal prosecution for his testimony against Evans (a violation of the law). If Wheeler was in fact an eyewitness to Pearson’s murder by James Evans, then why did the state go to such lengths, knowingly violating the law to conceal Clifton Wheeler’s plea deal?

There were other state witnesses who benefitted from the benevolence of the prosecutor’s office before and after Evans indictment and subsequent convictions. For instance, there is a man name Larry Greer (a known drug addict) who was essentially paid for his grand jury testimony at the Evans indictment hearing. Greer was able to broker a deal that not only allowed him to elude personal criminal charges of his own, but also convinced law enforcement officials to give him back his $1500 dollar bail money. Later on Greer became embroiled in the justice system again facing criminal charges, and had agreed to testify against Evans in exchange for leniency in yet another criminal case of his own. Only this time Greer backed out on the deal. According to court documents and a sworn affidavit from Larry Greer himself, he refused to testify against Evans after learning that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in Evans cases. Larry Greer was subsequently convicted of murder based on a convoluted murder for hire plot, and conspiracy that was cooked up by dirty cops and fed to a jury related to the Brian Warr killing, despite the fact that Greer actually drove Brian Warr to the hospital after he had been shot by another man.

Then there was the testimony of Tommy Rounds (James Evans Cousin), who like Demond Spruil was a known jailhouse rat, who routinely testified for the state in exchange for leniency in his own criminal struggles. Rounds wore a wiretap for prosecutors during conversations with Evans in jail while he was awaiting trial for pending prosecution for the Pearson killing. Those recordings have been a major stake hold in Evans appeal because he has always contended that the recordings were doctored (multiple conversations edited to appear as one conversation), establishing what Evans claims is in fact the manufacturing of evidence in his conspiracy to commit murder case. Evans claim is a bolstering allegation that directly attacks the integrity of the Madison County Sheriffs and the state prosecutors offices. I’ve personally read some of the transcripts from some of those recordings, and they appear to be filled with the white noise effect (vast majority of recording is inaudible) and doesn’t represent a coherent conversation related to any subject matter at all, let alone a conspiracy to commit murder plot.

Even though those recordings from Rounds wiretap remain a constant area of trouble for the state, many continue to argue that the fact Evans own Cousin testified against him is simply incredulous, and goes a long way of establishing his potential guilt. In reality though, Rounds is reportedly an alleged two bit petty criminal who can’t do his on bid in prison for his crimes, and some have told TPC that he would lie on his own mother to get out of his brushes with the law (Rounds was even accused of burglarizing his mother and sister’s homes). Furthermore, those recordings from Rounds jailhouse wiretap have mysteriously disappeared. Evans has requested copies of those recordings for the purpose of forensic analysis to establish their authenticity, and has even compelled the courts in Madison County to issue 4 separate court orders directing state officials to release copies of that discovery to Evans, but the state has never complied with either of those orders.

Compounding Evans appeal related to those recordings is the fact that his own attorney from the Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, law firm have even tried to convince Evans to dummy down his manufacturing of evidence claims in his appeal, and take a plea of time served, but when he refused to do that, his own attorney abandoned him and his case was even taken off the court docket for nearly three years, a factor in his appeal that has never been properly explained. Its simply a glaring red flag in his case that may explain an enormous inordinate delay in Evans appellate process. Just as in most convictions cases, Evans lost his initial direct appeal which is usually the original trial court. and In his case that’s Madison County. Although the state of Illinois has long established that the post conviction process should take just a little more than a year to conclude, Evans remains in post conviction for over 18 years (unheard of as far as appellate case standards run). All that’s required to move forward is for Madison County to approve or deny his appeal. Assuming his case is denied, Evans would then be allowed to pray before a higher court. The only problem is Evans can’t get through post conviction because Madison County refuses to remedy or adjudicate Evans claims of manufactured evidence in his case (those jailhouse recordings played at his trial).

While the enormous inordinate delay in Evans appeal is a procedural error by the courts, its further complicated by the state’s failure to comply with a volume of court orders related to trial discovery with impunity, and in actuality bolsters Evans claims of foul play related to the evidence presented against him during his conspiracy to commit murder trial.

However, the icing on the cake really isn’t just those trial recordings and the state’s failure to produce them. The state has even bigger fish to fry in terms of damage control in what in fact just maybe a malicious prosecution of an innocent man by dirty cops and a corrupt prosecutors office. Some years after Evans had already began serving his 107 year prison term, he received a communication from an Appellate Defender, who provided him with a police report composed by an Alton Illinois School Resource Police Officer name Detective Cooley. Cooley had various brushes with Nekemar Pearson whom Evans was convicted of murdering. Cooley probably is best qualified to identify Pearson due to having arrested him on several occasions. The school cop was more than likely familiar with missing person reports related to Pearson’s disappearance, took the initiative to file a police report after spotting Pearson walking down a street in Alton, and interestingly some 9 days after the day in which state prosecutors claimed Evans had killed him.

Evans had allegedly never seen the report or even heard about it and court records show that others working on his defense also say they never were made aware of such discovery. More importantly though, Evans trial jury was never made aware of this discovery either. This piece of information brought to Evans attention years after his conviction is not only new evidence which establishes at minimum, grounds for a new trial, but the document could even completely eviscerate the state’s entire case against Evans. The attorney’s communication to Evans related to Detective Cooley’s police report is such a crucial piece of discovery that its highly probable and reasonable to assume that at least one juror could have ruled in favor of acquitting Evans, based on the fact that a police report, which is usually deemed credible, establishes that Pearson was seen alive after the day that state prosecutors claimed that Evans killed him.

According to the Appellate Defender who alerted Evans regarding the police report by Detective Cooley, he had discovered the document in the case files of Larry Greer, the same man that authorities essentially paid to testify at Evans grand jury hearing. The report’s very existence establishes that prosecutors were well aware of Cooley’s claim of having seen Pearson alive after he was suppose to have been killed. This point related to discovery in Evans case which the prosecutors office is required to turn over to Evans defense, prove that sufficient evidence existed that establishes Evans indictment for murder was obtained through paid witness testimony, and with knowledge by prosecutors that Pearson very well may have still been alive (a serious crime that makes a mockery of the Illinois state courts and our justice system. and completely destroying the life of James Evans and his family). Then there are also reports and witness accounts that claim Pearson (who was on home monitor pending criminal charges for the murder of a man name Willie Nichols), had allegedly been pursued on foot and shot at by members of Nichols’ family on the one year anniversary of Nichols’ death. Some how that information was never allowed into the Evans trial. Pearson’s actual killer(s) may even still be at large within the Alton community.

The case against James Evans when viewed from an objective posture with all evidence and other information now available after his conviction, should at least raise eyebrows of court officials who act as an oversight of lower criminal courts, and demonstrate how prosecutors surreptitiously achieved having an all white jury find Evans guilty of the crimes for which he was charged and subsequently sent to the slammer for over a century. His case should also be a mirror into how our justice system is broken. State prosecutors even knowingly broke the law to obtain Evans conviction. Although it’s a stretch considering how powerful of a piece of discovery Detective Cooley’s police report is related to the Evans murder case, prosecutors may attempt to explain away the report’s existence and failure to be turned over to the defense as a mere oversight, but they will never be able to explain away paying a witness for his testimony during an indictment hearing:

  1. There is clear evidence that state prosecutors may have suppressed highly exculpatory evidence in Evans case.
  2. Prosecutors made backdoor deals with just about every witness it produced against Evans in a highly circumstantial case.
  3. Prosecutors utilized the testimony of Desmond Spruill who a higher court found extremely problematic in unrelated cases as a witness for the state, when the court reversed an unrelated murder conviction of another man when it learned that Spruil had incredibly testified for the state in 8 different murder cases, where Spruill claimed that each of those respective defendants had allegedly confessed to him.
  4. The state even made deals with violent criminals in exchange for testimony during Evans trial, which allowed these criminals to get out of jail to commit even more serious violent crimes (one of those witnesses was charged with allegedly brutalizing and raping an elderly woman after state prosecutors set him free for helping them convict Evans)

There are also other glaring problems with Evans convictions but these are just a few that stand out after having been discovered in the case files of other defendants, or were arrogantly revealed by prosecutors during court proceedings of other defendants. The volume of missteps by prosecutors that were made in the Evans trials reach farther than mere prosecutorial misconduct, that the overt callousness of state prosecutor’s actions, demonstrate that such violations of the law and rights of criminal defendants could be deemed as an acceptable cultural practice that permeates the Madison County courts. Many of these facts now revealed regarding the state prosecution of James Evans, juxtapose to the Madison County courts extreme inordinate delay of his appellate process, which weighs heavily of trial discovery tapes, creates a burdensome dilemma for Madison County that a higher court may easily reverse based on basic constitutional grounds.

Evans 18 year post conviction process is not only unfair and extraordinary, but essentially could be construed as him in fact being held as a political prisoner in Madison County Illinois, as many responsible in securing Evans conviction have moved up the ladder in their respective careers, have established allies with the courts, and in many respects are political figures within the Illinois state justice system. Essentially no one wants to revisit the extremely problematic and highly circumstantial case of James Evans, not even his own paid attorneys. Keeping that proverbial can of worms shut is probably a sticking priority for quite a few people involved in his case, and trampling over the rights of a convict the likes of a black man name James Evans maybe in their minds, simply collateral damage that’s worth extinguishing the facts that reveal exactly how Madison County meted out his demise.

I believe it was my college classmate, retired ATF Administrator, and CNN Analysis Matthew Wayne Horace who advised me that while Evans case appears tragic, its not an anomaly, as he describes police culture in intricate detail in his book “The Black And The Blue,” one of the most powerful indictments ever published of American policing by a former cop. Any police agency or prosecutors office within our entire country must never be allowed to surreptitiously break the law, fail to abide by establish court proceedings, trample the constitutional rights of criminal defendants no matter how contentious their belief is in his guilt, suppress evidence that potentially point to the defendant’s innocence, and then label it as American justice. At the very least, indisputable evidence exist that proves Evans didn’t receive a fail trial under the law, and after being imprisoned for over 20 years. all that’s required is for just one duty bound official to do the right thing in the name of American justice. For this belief, we must continuously pray before the courts.

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David Adams


A Word From The Administrator: The George Floyd Case And The Continued Attack On Black America

Many citizens from broad spectrums of the American society have followed race relations at some point in time or another, as status, wealth, and prosperity is predicated on the very anatomy of American race relations in this country. While the ruling class has maintained a constant firm grip on the United States underclass, the pervasive old-time tradition of killing her black inhabitants continues unabated as if the thirst for more blood from her citizens of color is never satisfied.

I am certain that I am not alone, as I struggle with comprehending, how despite incidents such as the George Floyd case can be captured in real time before the entire world, yet still there is that element of America’s white society who remain incapable of discerning what rational minds of all ethnicity have collectively concluded as wrong, and then use false narratives to repudiate what a volume of human eyes upon the entire planet have resolved as being authentic.

Before dismissing my comments as hyperbole or a mere generalization, purview chat threads within social media. It really doesn’t matter which platform you view, but the evidence is there for any objective thinker to observe. It’s concerning that the attack upon America’s marginalized colored peoples has spanned over four centuries, despite protest and cries for change, policing in America is raging with the fever of extrajudicial violence against black people. It’s an underlying condition of the racism that has bound us together for 401 years, leaving the children of Africa angry targets and white people feeling afraid and desperate to stay on top.

The very ideal of America or its flawed culture of American ism is rooted in forced bondage, and her European immigrants have utilized a relentless and successful violent attack upon the indigenous people of these shores, coupled with a compulsory extrication of Africans for laborious industry from which modern America was built, and from which a sense of entitlement has been indoctrinated into the “White American” pshyce, leaving the poorest and ignorant of white people believing they are the mystical master race, superior to even the most accomplished and brilliant people of color.

The police have a sordid relationship with us, but so does local government and the business community that to this day work hand-in-hand to restrict our physical, social and economic movement. No, you don’t have to go to Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles or small town mid west America like in Alton Illinois to see what’s wrong with not just white folks, but Americans of all ethnicities who collectively police minority communities. Check out your own back yard. When it comes to American policing, we find that often times the police instituting violence against colored people are well trained, and well mentally conditioned black people who foster a sickness and hatred toward their own people that is just as pervasive as the white man.

Being an American is a good thing, unless of course, you’re black and conscious. If you are, you can’t help but be simultaneously angry and worried that trouble is always around the corner in the form of rabid law enforcers who wouldn’t mind putting us in what they perceive to be our rightful place. On the other hand, it could very well be the random white civilian who demands your identity, and business when they believe you’re out of place by handling your own business. We’ve seen this countless times when white people who utilize police as their personal security agency, have called in fictious reports to law enforcement for no other provocation other than their personal perceived discomfort and fear when interacting with black people

That means white folks, who due to privilege and their literal death grip on the levers of economic and social power, have us in a chokehold meant to squeeze the life out of us for their perception of superiority. Which is exactly what Derrick Chauvin did to George Floyd, matter of factly before a live audience without fear of reprisal.

The black race is under attack and until there is a collective understanding regarding this American hyper-pandemic, not only will we (black folks) remain targets of orchestrated attack from the establishment, we will never be capable of adopting resolution and a cure for the innate American disease of racist bigotry and hatred.

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist And Crime Blogger David Adams

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: James Evans Praying To Federal Court For Relief From Embattled Madison County Illinois Judicial Grasp

Disclaimer: The links associated with this blog article are only copies and excerpts extracted from official court records, and do not in any way represent the entirety of those records. A complete copy should be obtained for full context. Additionally, some content may be of an opinionated nature, and doesn’t necessarily represent all of the facts pertaining to the subject matter contained here in.

When the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush went to Madison County Illinois in 2005, he was there to support “Tort” reform in the state, and highlighted the fact that for the second consecutive year, Madison County was ranked as the nation’s #1 “judicial hellhole.” The county is known for its questionable and frivolous civil lawsuits resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars being awarded in shaky and relatively non existent claims. The former president could easily have made a similar assessment of the county’s criminal courts as well. Legal observers and citizens who have been embroiled in the county’s court process, say the way things are done in Madison County Illinois should have sparked a federal investigation decades ago.

Many former and current defendants have claimed shady dealings such as corruption, malicious prosecution, and manufacturing of evidence by state prosecutors, to send people (mostly black and brown) to state prison for decades. Those claims began to raise eyebrows when legitimacy was added to the outcry toward injustice in Madison County, when the 5th District Appellate Court of Illinois began hearing oral arguments in the People vs. Brown case (831 N.E. 2d 1113) which focused on notorious jail house snitch Demond Spruil.

Brown vs. Illinois Impact

The case resulted in defendant Jeramey R. Brown’s murder conviction being overturned, because of Madison County prosecutor Keith Jensen’s constant recycled use of Spruill to curiously testify for Jensen in 6 other unrelated murder cases that resulted in convictions of those defendants. Those proceedings revealed a very suspicious pattern and practice in murder cases prosecuted by Jensen. Somehow jailhouse informant Spruill would make a showing and produce a confessional testimony allegedly given to him by defendants who were being prosecuted in separate cases, and while most of them say they had never spoken to Spruill. Mysteriously though, Spruill would know details about cases prosecuted by Jensen, implicating defendants while on the stand barking out details that only the prosecutor and police should know about the cases. Click link to view a news article related to Brown’s murder conviction being overturned due to Spruill’s suspicious use by Madison County prosecutors.

In part 3 of “Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied” related to the James Evans case (Nekemar Pearson murder), TPC demonstrated through court transcripts how a man name Micheal Hooks’ erroneous alleged eyewitness account of the Nekemar Pearson murder (that implicated Evans), and Spruill’s initial grand jury testimony of Evans alleged jail house confession regarding the Pearson killing, matched identically. Mysteriously, both Hooks and Spruill who were each facing charges for serious crimes, and were then subsequently allowed to walk free from Madison County Jail after giving (false) testimony to the Evans grand jury.

In the Brown Appellate ruling, judges mentioned how Demond Spruill had been given an 8 year prison term for armed robbery in 1997, and arrested in 1999 while again being found on the streets in possession of a firearm. Court documents show that Spruill was released from his 8 year armed robbery stint for his testimony at the Evans grand jury hearing. Records also show that Spruill was again released from his 1999 criminal case in exchange for his testimony at the Evans prosecution trials, and despite such discovery being a Brady vs. Maryland violation in the Evans case, the record will show that it was never disclosed to the trial jury nor the Evans defense team. Click the link to view an excerpt from a Post Trial Appellate matter in the case of Jeffrey Ewing, where prosecutors admit to having given Demond Spruill a deal related to his criminal charges, in exchange for his testimony in the Evans murder, and the Evans conspiracy to commit murder trials.

Failure to disclose such detail to the court and a defendant’s legal counsel is a direct violation of the law (Maryland vs. Brady, and People vs.Giglio) which gurantees a right to a fair and impartial trial (U S. Constitution 6th Amendment). So, when we look at Spruill’s suspicious use as a star witness by Madison County prosecutor Jensen (which a state Appellate Court agrees with), coupled with the fact that Spruill is the exact same person that 6-8 other defendants just so happened to confess their alleged crimes to and considering Spruill’s apparent reoccurring “get out of jail free” card, it’s a clear indication that he was acting as an agent for the state.

Mean while the state admittedly was making back door deals with Spruill that not only repeatedly allowed him to get out of prison, but essentially gave him a license to commit more crimes. Hell, Spruill was even an initial suspect in the Pearson killing himself before he fingered James Evans for for that murder (some in Alton believe Spruill was very capable of murder and his lengthy criminal record speaks to that belief). More importantly, it raises serious issue with the state’s (Keith Jensen) prosecution of other cases where Spruill was utilized repeatedly as a star witness, especially if those cases had or have other glaring elements that are problematic to the extent that sufficient doubt exist as to whether or not defendants were unjustly prosecuted and convicted (James Evans, Jeffery Ewing, and Jordan Valdez all are others that Spruill helped Jensen send to prison). The James Evans case is one of those exceptionally funky cases though, that should raise more than just a few eye brows. Click the link to view the People vs. Brown Appellate Ruling.

Given the Spruill dynamic as it relates to the convience and coincidence of his having acted as an arm of the prosecution, it should be noted that Spruill who was a key state witness in the Brown case, claimed that Brown confessed to him of having allegedly killed a man name Michael Keller, and that Brown also allegedly solicited him to kill a witness name Mary Weaver. It’s simply incredulous that Spruill was a star witness, and again suspected of acting as an arm of the prosecution in the Evans case who faced similar charges as Brown did (the murder of Nekemar Pearson, and conspiring to kill co-defendant and witnesses). Spruill’s testimony in Evans cases and that of others, should be sufficient to at least grant new trials in all of those respective cases. Madison County won’t adjudicate the post convictions of Evans, Ewing, nor Valdez because those cases were all casualties of a forbidden fruit from a poisonous tree, in the form of Demond Spruill. Those cases have been stuck in post conviction and not allowed to adjudicate through the Appellate process for decades.

Another glaring fact about Demond Spruill in relationship to his cooperation with prosecutors in the Evans cases, is the unmistakable difference in how his testimony changed from his Evans grand jury appearance for the state, juxtapose to his testimony as a witness for the prosecution before the Evans trial jury. Spruill gave a nearly identical account to that of a man name Michael Hooks regarding what allegedly happened to Nekemar Pearson, only Spruil’s account slightly differed by suggesting that Pearson was shot, brought into Evans’ house, and was stored in the basement for at least a day. Spruill even claims that a female who visited Evans’ residence alleges that Evans home smelled like a dead person.

Interestingly though, staying true to form in a Keith Jensen prosecution case, his old star witness standby, Demond Spruill was on the witness stand in the Evans trial to save the day with yet another story of alleged culpable hearsay evidence, claiming like he did in the Brown case, that Evans too had confessed to him, which proved extremely damaging to the Evans defense. Keep in mind that during the time of the grand jury indictment hearings and subsequent prosecution trials of James Evans, Spruill was on the hook for robbery and weapons charges. You literally have to read the grand jury transcripts of Michael Hooks, Demond Spruil, and Madison County police detective Bradley Wells to understand how Spruill’s trial testimony account shifted from what he told a grand jury, and how it suddenly morphed into the prosecution’s version (Detective Wells’ version) of what they claim happened. The entire indictment against Evans was founded on a lie told to the grand jury by Detective Bradly Wells, that Pearson Hadn’t been seen alive since June 24, 1995. Read their individual testimonies related to the Evans case below here:

Michael Hooks grand jury testimony

Demond Spruill grand jury testimony

Detective Bradley Wells grand jury testimony

Demond Spruill trial testimony .

Prosecutor Jensen A Deal Maker

That’s just the very tip of the iceberg in the Evans case. From what we have learned regarding the merits of his case, it seems that a first year law student could easily navigate the extremely complex and misleading specifics of the state’s prosecution of Evans that led to his conviction and subsequent incarceration. One key element that makes an exoneration for Evans achievable, is the fact that State of Illinois prosecutors have already conceded to reversible violations in open court while referencing Evans cases during proceedings of other defendants who are not Evans’ co-defendants in their respective post trial litigations (like in the Jeffrey Ewing and Valdez Jordan cases).|

Also, in TPC blog article “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” part 6, we provided compelling evidence showing how prosecutor Keith Jensen agreed to pay a man named Larry Greer for his false testimony (subordination of perjury), prior to him testifying before three grand juries, and the Evans’ trial jury for the murder of Nekemar Pearson. We presented Greer’s sworn affidavit, and other court records supporting how Jensen appears to have instructed Greer to reply “no” when asked on the witness stand, if he received anything in exchange for his testimony, despite Greer actually having been paid over a thousand dollars and being granted his liberty. Click to view the Affidavit of Larry Greer. Also, click to read excerpts from transcripts that verify as a matter of fact that prosecutor Jensen and another official admitted to paying Larry Greer (by giving him his bail money back) $1500 dollars prior to testifying before the Evans grand jury. It was never disclosed to the Evans defense team nor his trial jury, that Greer was given money in a deal (People vs. Giglio) involving state prosecutor Keith Jensen and Greer’s attorney. Court record shows that Jensen himself admitted in open court that it was liency being given toward Greer by giving him the money. Such a perk being afforded to a defendant by a prosecutor while the defendant is facing criminal charges just before he is to testify on behalf of the state in a grand jury indictment hearing, doesn’t take rocket science to conclude that Greer’s testimony was paid for by the state prosecutor’s office.

However, there are other records that demonstrate how Greer, just like Demond Spruill, was acting as an agent for state prosecutors (in the Evans case at least). The evidence is compiled in a judge’s ruling pertaining to a federal habeas filed by a man named Robert Fletcher. Fletcher was convicted of killing James Evans’ best friend Brian Warr, who is also an alleged Evans co-defendant in the murder of Nekemar Pearson. In the habeas response the judge cites that Larry Greer along with a man named Jodi Wesley are included in an affidavit contained inside Fletcher’s habeas and also confirmed through testimony by Wesley himself, that not only did Wesley get benefit related to his pending federal criminal charges for testifying against James Evans, but the two (Greer & Wesley) were even quoted in the judge’s response that reveals how they both were joking and boasting while riding together in a prisoner transport van, that they were going to “say whatever prosecutor Keith Jensen and Detective Brad Wells wanted” them to, so they could get out of jail. Greer and Wesley both testified on behalf of the state against Evans at his murder trial, and their deals with the state were never disclosed to the defense nor the jury in Evans cases. Click the link to read an excerpt from Robert Fletcher’s federal habeas response.

Robert Fletcher is also a very key proponent in James Evans’ conspiracy to commit murder convction, as the state alleged that Evans hired Fletcher to kill his best friend’s (Brian Warr) father (Lester Warr). These allegations are probably the most ridiculous and outlandish aspect of this entire ordeal pertaining to the state’s theory against Evans having conspired to kill Lester Warr and other witnesses. During the interviews that were conducted with sources connected to the street culture in Alton during the time of the Pearson and Warr murders, we learned that not only were Pearson and Fletcher close friends, they were both “Crip” gang members. Fletcher was reportedly the leader of the local gang set, and it was widely believed that he killed Warr in retaliation for his alleged involvement in Pearson’s murder. Also, a source told TPC that “if James Evans had been standing on the street with Warr that night, he more than likely would have been shot also.” Court records show that Fletcher was locked up for unrelated charges, when Madison County detectives Brady and Wells visited him in jail, advised him of who they believed killed his best friend, and eventually released him to confront those responsible for the murder according to a sworn affidavit.

“The state’s case against James Evans can easily be dismissed as a convoluted tale meticulously crafted to distort the truth by dirty cops, and a corrupt prosecutor.” — TPC

Fletcher alleges that he was approached by the two detectives who advised him that they were investigating the Pearson murder, presented him with photos (post mortem) of Pearson, and told him that they believed James Evans, Brian Warr, and a man named Clifton Wheeler were responsible for his murder. Then according to Fletcher’s sworn affidavit, detectives Brady and Wells released him from custody, with the permission of the state proprosecutor’s office, and solely for the purpose of allowing him to confront Evans and others who were suspected of killing his friend. Fletcher also claims in his affidavit that the state tried to broker a deal with him through his lawyer, to finger Evans for Pearson and Warr’s murders, and he claimed to have refused to lie for the state against Evans. Now if you follow the Madison County prosecutors office pattern and practice of shady dealings with known criminals to secure them as state witnesses against defendants they aggressively prosecuted, Fletcher’s affidavit on its face appears believable. Additionally, sources told TPC that police officials and state prosecutors knew that by releasing Fletcher that he would violently retaliate against those who police told him were the suspects in Pearson’s killing. “In actuality, the blood of Brian Warr’s killing his on their hands,” the source said. Why would these cops tell Fletcher this crucial aspect of their murder investigation, and then let him out of jail? That seems crazy, but not as crazy as their theory of Evans having solicited and hired the best friend of the person he allegedly killed for the purpose of killing his own best friend. Given many of the facts that we now know, the state’s case against James Evans can easily be dismissed as a convoluted tale meticulously crafted to distort the truth by dirty cops, and a corrupt prosecutor. Click to read the sworn affidavit of Robert Fletcher.

Moreover, there were other pieces of forbidden fruit that fell from the poisonous tree, that also aligned themselves with state prosecutor Keith Jensen, who were violent criminals that did short prison terms after being convicted of murder and other serious violent crimes such as rape and sodomy, and made deals with prosecutors in their own criminal cases in exchange for testifying against James Evans in his trials. For example, Clifton Wheeler was believed to be a co-defendant with James Evans and Brian Warr in the Nekemar Pearson case, according to court records. Wheeler was also convicted of killing a man named Dwight Riddlespriger. He was able to broker a deal with state prosecutor Keith Jensen (for testifying against Evans, Ewing, and others) that allowed him to only go to prison for a 23 year prison term for murder (Riddlespriger), of which he only served roughly 12 years, and is currently back on the streets of Alton Illinois this very day. Click to read an excerpt of a court transcript from the plea arrangement of Clifton Wheeler.

During the murder trial of James Evans, Clifton Wheeler testified that Evans killed Nekemar Pearson and gave other testimony that implicated Evans in the crime, but the state failed to reveal that Wheeler had brokered a deal with prosecutor Keith Jensen to accept a 23 year sentence for an unrelated murder (again the state had and obligation considering case law such as Maryland vs. Brady and People vs. Giglio, to inform the Evans defense of such a plea deal). When asked on the stand at Evans’ trial under cross examination by the defense council, if he had made a deal for liency in exchange for his testimony, Wheeler denied having made a deal with the state. Wheeler was asked again under direct examination by prosecutor Keith Jensen, whether he had received anything for his testimony, and Wheeler again denied having received a deal by answering “no.” The crucial error made by the state is that Wheeler did in fact broker a deal for a 23 year sentence, and not only did he commit perjury, but prosecutor Jensen did as well, as Jensen was in fact the very state official who pled the deal to the judge during Wheeler’s sentencing. That’s also a violation of the law, as Evans’ trial jury was prejudiced by Wheeler’s testimony. Omitting his plea deal violated Evans’ right to a fair and impartial trial. Click the link to read an excerpt from a court transcript during a plea agreement hearing on the sentencing of Clifton Wheeler.

It’s also believed that a man named William Jenkins made deals with Jensen and also received a get out of jail free card for his testimony against James Evans. Sadly though, the state’s fanatical thirst for Evans’ complete soul turned into a sacrifice that would be paid for by a rape victim, who Jenkins sexually attacked and sodomized after prosecutors allegedly set him free for testifying against Evans..

Bending The Law

The fact that prosecutors appear to bend the law in a custom fashion to execute their brand of justice probably isn’t a new phenomenon within the American criminal justice system, but the blatant disregard for the law while trampling the constitutional rights of defendants with impunity by those sworn to uphold the law, just seems mere common place in Madison County Illinois, and is textbook for “judicial hellhole” just as former U.S. President George W. Bush rightfully once dubbed the embattled county’s courts.

Suppression Of Evidence

Mr. Evans began his post conviction process in 2003 after having been sentenced to more than a century in the Illinois Division of Corrections, he was blind sided by a communication he received from an Appellate defense attorney who alerted Evans of a police report that had been sent to his office. The document was highly exculpatory for Evans. An Alton High School liaison police officer who had several past dealings with Pearson, saw him walking down the street on July 3, 1995, which is 9 days after the date that police and state prosecutors claim that James Evans an others were supposed to have killed Pearson. Moreover, Madison County Detective Bradley Wells testified during a grand jury indictment hearing that Pearson was never seen alive again after June 24, 1995. The very existence of Detective Cooley’s report indicates that Pearson was more than likely still alive. In fact, the grand jury was never made aware of this report, nor was Evans’ trial jury. Based on the state’s theory that Evans and others accosted Pearson on the 24th of June and subsequently murdered him, is clearly a theory which implodes related to their entire case against Evans from the gate, but they pursued prosecution of Evans anyway. It is very reasonable to assume that police knew about Detective Cooley’s report of having seen Pearson alive on July 3, 1995, but the indictment hearings against James Evans took place after that date, and Cooley’s report somehow became invisible and irrelavent, only to mysteriously resurface years later in 2003 after Evans had already been tried and convicted. Click the link to read these highly exculpatory documents in the James Evans case, and another exculpatory document from the same Appellate Defender who advised Evans how he obtained the document (in the discovery documents of Larry Greer), demonstrating as a matter of fact that Madison County prosecutor Keith Jensen, who prosecuted both Evans and Greer, had knowledge of Cooley’s report and suppressed the document in the Evans case.

Highly exculpatory evidence in a murder case is an extremely big deal, and the prosecutor has a duty to reveal it to a defendant and his legal counsel. It’s quite possible that the police failed to disclose Cooley’s report of having seen Pearson alive after the date he was supposedly killed, it’s unlikely (since the report is in the record of another defendant’s case records related to Evans’ conspiracy to commit murder case) but quite plausible. However, there is still the matter of the audio tapes from the Evans trial that were played before the jury, and are suppose to be jailhouse overhears between a man named Tommy Rounds and James Evans. Rounds who is Evans’ first cousin, supposedly wore a wired recorder to secretly tape conversations of him and Evans conspiring to kill Lester Warr, the father of Evans’ best friend (Brian Warr) and other witnesses to prevent them from testifying against him in the Pearson murder case. Evans has always and repeatedly argued that the audio recordings are not authentic, because they are recordings of multiple conversations that were spliced and edited to appear as just one conversation. This claim is a serious charge Evans is making, which would mean police, prosecutors, or both manufactured evidence, and fabricated the entire murder conspiracy elements of their case against Evans. It’s very easy to make a claim of this nature against law enforcement, and it’s seldom given any weight or credibility when the allegations are being made by defendants who have been convicted of serious crimes.

“The culture within the judicial system in Madison County Illinois appears to completely void the rights of a volume of black men who are embroiled within its justice system.” — TPC

So, when Evans began his post conviction Appellate process, he claimed actual innocence in his case, cited prosecutorial misconduct based on manufactured evidence, and made a discovery request to obtain the audio tapes played before the jury at his trial, so they could be forensicsly tested. The original trial court in Madison County has dragged its feet in Evans’ request for post conviction relief. The State of Illinois has long established that post convictions shouldn’t take no more than a little over a year to complete. The initial appeall is reviewed by the original court where a defendant was convicted, and rarely are cases overturned at that Appellate level. That’s why the process should be adjudicated swiftly to allow convicted defendants the opportunity to pray to a higher court of law. Evans has been in an Appellate holding pattern (post conviction) for at least 18 years now. Why is that? That’s not a rhetorical question and some watchdog arm of either the Illinois state judicial system, or the media should be seeking answers to the inordinate delay of a plethora of Appellate cases like Evans’ that are problematic for Madison County prosecutors pertaining to the violation of Constitutional rights of those seeking post conviction relief in decisions that originated in that jurisdiction.

Our justice system was designed to afford even those who are condemned for the most heinous crimes against the American Society, the right to appeal their sentencing. There were major Constitutional violations in the Evans cases that are in fact reversible, but the culture within the judicial system in Madison County Illinois appears to completely void the rights of a volume of black men who are embroiled within its justice system. During an interview with Evans he advised me of a conversation he had with an Appellate Defender, who once told him that “his case isn’t an anomaly because that’s just the way it is here. This system doesn’t care about a black man.” That perspective very well may have some validity but there also may be some other underlying dynamic that Madison County is hiding that directly impacts the Evans Appeal. Furthermore, there very well may be something funky regarding the audio tapes that Evans requested from his trial discovery. His claim of the audios being altered isn’t just hot air. Evans has been requesting those tapes from the very initial stages of his post conviction process, and despite a volume of court orders directing the state to turn the tapes over to Evans, the state has never complied. Click the link to view various court orders directing the state prosecutor’s office in Madison Couty to turn over audio tapes played during the trial to James Evans. Failure by the state to turn over the tapes creates tremendous suspicion, due to the fact that Evans has already been convicted and serving his sentence. Why wouldn’t state officials want to follow the law since they believe in his guilt? They should reasonably know that stalling tactics could eventually cause Evans to win his appeal by default judgements.

However, many believe that it’s a strategic maneuver by the Madison County courts to purposefully delay adjudication of his appellate process for as long as possible. The fact that after 18 years Evans is still in post conviction speaks volumes and demonstrates that his case is extradinary, and deliberately being held in a holding pattern. As long as Evans remains under the thumb of Madison County as it relates to his appeal to the original trial court, he can’t ever pray his claims for appeal to a higher court, and that’s a violation of the law. It’s as clear as day what may be happening here in Evans’ case, and the cases of other defendants similarly situated who are seeking post conviction relief in cases born out of the Madison County courts.

Legal Betrayal

It was roughly three years ago that Evans said he held a conference with his hired attorney from the law offices of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry. Evans says he was advised by attorney Jessica Hathaway, that the state was willing to “grant him time served if he accepted a deal by pleading guilty to his charges, and he could then go home,” according to Evans. He went on to say that “the deal she offered me by the state was only for the conspiracy to commit murder count. I would still be serving time for the murder count, if I had lied, took the deal, and just accepted time served. It was a clever move by either Hathaway, the state, or both to get me to plead,” Evans said. He says that he refused to plead guilty to something he didn’t do and wanted his claims, especially the prosecutorial misconduct and the manufacturing of evidence claims adjudicated. Evans says that Hathaway advised him that “the state would never do that,” according to Evans. He also argues that there have been several attempts by his attorney to get him to “lesson my claims, by requesting that I omit certain aspects of my appeal, such as the allegations that state prosecutors broke the law in my case,” Evans said. When he refused to take the plea deal that attorney Hathaway had suggested, Evans said she advised him that she had been informed by the judge that “the tapes have been lost,” according to Evans. He then stated that “I told her, well if the tapes are lost then immediately file a motion to have my case reversed based on Constitutional grounds. She became angry, stormed out of the conference, and I hadn’t spoken to her or heard from anyone in the law firm in over three years. They simply abandoned me,” Evans told me (Evans’ lawyer, Attorney Mike Mettes was contacted for comment regarding this article related to the Evans case, but cited attorney client confidentiality, and advised TPC that Mr. Evans’ consent is required for his comment. No confirmation of consent was obtained at time of publishing).

Around the time that Evans says his lawyer cut him off, he hadn’t had a hearing or a court date scheduled during that entire time frame. It was also around that time that his mother, who was his primary source of support financially, became very ill. Evans family and friends began searching for alternative sources for assistance since his lawyer was absent, and failed to return a volume of calls he put out to her office. Then, through an unsolicited email, TPC became aware of his plight, and hundreds of court documents were forwarded and researched at Evans request. The inordinate delay in his case was so exceptional that Evans sought to circumvent the normal Appellate procedure in Illinois state courts, and he filed a federal habeas for relief. In a rare achievement accomplished in cases not heard in lower courts first, bypassing the normal state court process, and without the assistance of his lawyer he was able to have a federal court accept his habeas. If successful, Evans’ case could leapfrog into the federal Appellate system where he could be granted a new trial. This is something that Evans and his supporters believe that Madison County officials never wanted to occur, and a basic purview of the case record adds tremendous credibility to such a belief.

Federal Habeas

The state of Illinois cases against James Evans in my opinion appears very problematic for the various foremention reasons. Now that officials in Madison County have been made aware of the pending federal habeas, the Illinois State Attorney General has filed a response in an attempt to block and prevent Evans’ habeas from being heard by a higher court. The lower court has now began having hearings to complete Evans’ post conviction process after all of these years, which has basically been lying dormant within a troubled and unfair judicial system that has repeatedly illustrated a pattern and practice of trampling the rights of defendants who pray to their magistrates for relief.

How is it possible for a state attorney’s office to have multiple court orders directing them to release discovery to a defendant, and they repeatedly fail to comply to those orders with impunity? Allowing such conduct by state officials without sanctions from the bench could be deemed as complicity to deny a defendant due process under the United States Constution, an error which appears to be culturally acceptable in the judicial system of Madison County Illinois when it largely pertains to defendants of color. Strangely though, Evans has been contacted by an attorney from the law firm which represents him and now it (appears) that work is finally being done to move his case forward.

It remains to be seen how this case all plays out considering there may actually have been crimes committed by the law enforcement officials who indicted, prosecuted, and had James Evans convicted and sent to the slammer for a term greater than a century. Sadly though, his case isn’t an anomaly by Madison County standards. I implore anyone to make sense of this audio transcription that was allegedly recorded when state prosecutors had Tommy Rounds wear a hidden wired recorder during a jailhouse conversation with James Evans. The transcription doesn’t follow a logical conversation pattern, and the physical hard recording should match the transcription of the recorded conversation. Ironically, the state still hasn’t complied with multiple court orders to turn over a hard copy of the audio recordings to the defendant. Click the link to view a copy of the actual transcription of a jailhouse secret wired recorded conversation between James Evans and Tommy Rounds.

The audio tapes arent just the nut and bolts of Evans’ appeal, but rather literally of greater significance of his entire life. Most government agents have a responsibility to preserve evidence. These range from police and prosecutors to detectives and investigators working for the prosecutor’s office, administrative staff, and the Attorney General’s Office. The duty to preserve evidence starts as soon as the evidence is obtained and continues after a conviction to cover any exculpatory evidence that might assist a defendant in an appeal. The consequence in violating the duty to preserve evidence, in some extreme cases, the court might dismiss the case. If the issue does not arise until after a conviction, an appellate court might overturn the conviction and order a new trial. James Evans is aware of these possibilities and it’s almost certain that Madison County officials are well aware also. If the case against Evans is solid, then there should be no hesitancy in moving forward but that’s easier said than done.

Finally, there is credible cause for concern for Evans’ safety within IDOC (Illinois Division of Corrections) and that of his family and friends, who have reported claims of being followed by suspicious vehicles on a regular basis during commutes to and from work in early morning hours, traveling from Menard Correctional Center where Evans is housed, basic fears from the memory of police tactics that some say they endured during the initial investigations into the crimes Evans was convicted of, and legitimate concern for Evans’ safety upon the execution of a writ of habeas corpus requiring the Warden of Menard Correctional Center in Chester Illinois, to produce James Evans’ physical body before his original trial court, for the purpose of an evidentiary hearing related to his original post conviction appeal that began over 18 years ago. In most cases these proceedings are done in person, and to comply with the writ, it may be required for Evans to be housed at the Madison County Jail Division in Edwardsville Ilinois, the origins of his incarceration, and it’s feared that the environment may be very unwelcoming for him. Evans has conveyed to TPC personally, of his concerns that he will be cut off from access to the outside world by being placed in solitary confinement, or worse, that he could be silenced permanently through violence orchestrated by jail officials. Therefore, vigilance and prayer for James Evans and his family is being requested, that his decades old bondage will soon be over. You can help James Evans in various ways, by first contacting the state of Illinois Attorney General’s Office and request an immediate investigation be conducted into the inordinate delay of Evans’ Appellate post conviction, by contacting local Illinois State Delegates and request advocacy in the interest of justice, for defendants whose rights have been violated pertaining to appeals, and by contributing to the James Evans “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” relief fund to cover legal expenses to help regain his liberty. On behalf of the entire Evans family, TPC thanks you all for your support. God speed.

You can aid the Evans Legal Fund by donating here: The Framing of James Evans

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