Magazine article The Crisis

Did the State of Missouri Execute a Man for a Crime He Didn't Commit?

Magazine article The Crisis

Did the State of Missouri Execute a Man for a Crime He Didn't Commit?

Article excerpt

At the sprawling Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, Mo., 40-year-old Larry Griffin. convicted of murdering a teenager in a 1980 drive-by shooting, was put to death morning hours of June 21, 1995. As stunning new revelations come to light, Jennifer Joyce, the chief prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, has agreed to launch an unprecedented investigation into whether the state executed an innocent man.

The decision is supported by a broad coalition that includes Griffin's relatives, attorneys from the New York-based Innocence Project, Rep. William Lacy clay (D-Mo.) and even family members of the victim, all of whom called for reopening the case at a July press conference.

Doubts about Griffin's guilt were expressed soon after he was jailed. His appeals for a new trial, even a few weeks before his death, were denied time and time again. Doubts have resurfaced after a year-long probe by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). The report, released in June, raised questions about the original police investigation and the prosecution's case.

On June 26, 1980, 19-year-old Quintin Moss, an alleged drug dealer, was murdered in broad daylight as bullets were fired from a car. Police quickly focused on Griffin because his older brother, Dennis, who also reportedly sold drugs, was murdered months earlier. Moss was believed to be responsible for that killing, and investigators believed Griffin murdered Moss in retribution.

Griffin was ultimately linked to the murder by Robert Fitzgerald, a convicted felon and admitted drug abuser, who faced jail time for multiple crimes. …

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