Philemon Ross #1194525
My name is Philemon Ross. I’m seeking legal assistance in pursuit of my freedom. I was convicted of 1st degree murder in 2006. I was sentenced to 38 years in prison. At the time of the crime I was 16 years old and charged as an adult. My then court appointed lawyer – a juvenile and domestic attorney – who never handled a criminal case, let alone a murder charge, was appointed to represent me at trial.
Three witnesses testified that I committed the crime. Two were admitted crackheads who had been using crack prior to the crime. However, none testified that they actually saw me shoot the victim. The star witness who was pregnant at the time and smoking crack, admitted that she lied to police about her whereabouts and knowledge of the crime. She was then charged with frivolous charges and arrested. Her accounts of what happened changed and she agreed to testify against me. The third witness was another 16 year old from my neighborhood who was involved in the crime and fled the scene after the crime took place. Days later after talking to his father who was a correctional officer (at the prison I ended up at a year later) called Crime Stoppers to report his knowledge of the crime, seeking compensation for his knowledge. This young man was never investigated as a suspect in the crime or charged with the crime, as long as he agreed to testify against me.
Despite having an alibi for my whereabouts during the time of the crime, and having people willingly testify on my behalf, my trial lawyer advised me that wouldn’t be the best defense. Despite the murder weapon being found in the possession of my brother, who was a suspect that was wanted in connection with a capital murder and armed robbery that happened 2 months after my incarceration, despite his being willing to testify at my trial, that the murder weapon found in his possession that was used in the crime I was charged with wasn’t mine, that he didn’t get it from me and that I never handled the weapon. My lawyer advised me that that would be the best defense for me but it would hurt my brother who was already charged with capital murder and robbery. She told me if I testified on my behalf that that gun was his and that I never possessed it, he would then be charged with another murder.
Me being a loving brother, not wanting my brother to get in more trouble, went along with the advice of my inexperienced lawyer. I have maintained my innocence for 13 years, I’m now seeking my liberty. I don’t know where to go from here, any and all help will be greatly appreciated.