Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Philip Workman

This blog has developed a particular interest in innocence cases. Not that anyone should be executed, mind you, but innocence cases illustrate most vividly one reason why the death penalty is simply flawed public policy.

Philip Workman's case is not an innocence case, per se. He was there when the murder happened. He was robbing a fast-food restaurant. His actions that night undoubtedly contributed to the death of a police office.

But did Workman shoot the police officer, as the state alleged during trial? No, he did not, according to reports that continue to trickle out. And that is why his case falls under the category of wrongful conviction and sentencing. The jury, simply put, did not hear the truth. Here's the latest:

Former officer, now an inmate, alleges cover-up in Workman case

Associated Press

A retired Memphis police officer now in federal prison claims her former colleagues covered up details of the fatal shooting for which Philip Workman faces execution.

Charlotte Creasy claims a police officer actually killed Lt. Ronald Oliver in 1981, not Workman, who was convicted of the crime.

She quotes a hysterical woman at the shooting scene with her family as saying she saw ''a white officer shoot the policeman.''

Workman has been on death row since 1982 for the slaying of Oliver after a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Memphis. Workman has long claimed that another officer killed Oliver by friendly fire.

Workman has twice been within hours of execution. His execution is currently on hold pending the resolution of federal appeals of a separate Tennessee case. He has exhausted his appeals in state court.

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