The African American who unjustly spent 37 years in prison because a witness lied in exchange for drugs and sex

The Philadelphia man who found out he had been wrongfully imprisoned 35 years later.

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The life sentence for murder that was imposed on African American Willie Stokes, 61, for a murder he did not commit took an unexpected turn; after 37 years in prison he was released.

According to the New York Post, a magistrate called the initial sentence a “Atrocious violation of constitutional rights.”

The same media pointed out that the witness in the case, Franklin Lee, accused him of having murdered a man because He was bribed by two detectives to lie in his affidavit in order to find a culprit.

In May 1980, Lee accused Stokes of taking the life of Leslie Campbell during a dice game, testimony that was planned by detectives, now dead, to close this murder case.

I got weak and accepted the offer

According to the witness, in return the detectives offered him special treatment inside the prison, as well as drugs and sex during the entire time he was incarcerated.

“I got weak and accepted the offer”, Lee told a federal judge in November 2021.

Although Lee retracted his statement in August 1984, the African American was taken to jail without learning that he had been wrongly blamed.

“Once I spoke to my mother, she told me ‘Don’t raise you like that, to lie About a man because you got in trouble She (also) told me ‘I don’t care if they give you 1,000 years, go in and tell the truth. And that’s what I did, ”said Franklin Lee who was in prison on a rape and murder charge unrelated to this case.

After revealing the truth, hePhiladelphia prosecutors charged Lee with perjury and sentenced him to a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. Meanwhile, Stokes learned of the false testimony against him 35 years later, so he asked his lawyer to appeal the murder conviction.

Two years after initiating the appeal, andn 2019 Stokes was released and welcomed by his mother and close family members.

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