Philadelphia Man Released From Prison After Witness Was Allegedly Offered Sex And Drugs In Exchange For False Testimony
The witness told a federal judge that he “fell weak and went along with the offer.”
January 05, 2022 at 7:05 pm
Willie Stokes, 61, was released from a state prison near Philadelphia on Tuesday after serving 37 years for a crime he said he didn’t commit, USA Today reports.
In 1983, Detectives allegedly offered Franklin Lee sex and drugs in exchange for false testimony against Stokes during the 1984 trial for the killing of Leslie Campbell. The detectives are now both deceased.
Lee, who was already in police custody for unrelated rape and murder charges, admitted that detectives assured him that his testimony would lighten his sentence. Lee, who lived in Stokes' neighborhood, then told detectives that Stokes confessed to killing Campbell while playing dice.
Back in November, Lee told a federal judge that he “fell weak and went along with the offer,” NPR reports.
Despite Lee recanting his confession during the murder trial, Stokes was still convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Lee, however, was charged with perjury for his initial testimony against Stokes and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Lee was officially released from prison two years ago and now works as a supervisor for an assembly line. He eventually apologized to Stokes in court “for the problem [he] caused.”
“Today is a tremendous day. We’re all very thankful,” Stokes’ lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, said.
“However, it’s also a sad day, because it reminds us of how lawless, unfair and unjust Philadelphia law enforcement was for so long,” he added.
Stokes told NBC10 Philadelphia after being released from State Correctional Institute — Chester that he couldn't "wait to go home to see my mother.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has not yet decided to retry Stokes. A decision, however, should be made before Jan. 26.