December 11, 2019 By Wallin & Klarich

After spending 36 years in prison for being falsely convicted of murder, Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart have been released. Their exoneration came after a reexamination of their case revealed that police coercion towards witnesses resulted in a wrongful conviction for all three men.  

History of the Case

On Thanksgiving Day 1983, Chestnu, Watkins and Stewart, who were 16 years old at the time, were arrested and charged with the murder of a Baltimore high school student named DeWitt Duckett. Duckett had been shot that same month in an altercation over his Georgetown Starter jacket, and witness testimony ultimately led to the three boys being sentenced to life in prison.

The 1983 case was notorious due to its similarity to other “clothing murders” that were taking place in American cities during the time, which saw the murders of numerous youths over their possession of certain clothing or shoes. However, in May 2019, Chestnut submitted a request for a reexamination of the case, and cited evidence that incriminated another individual for the murder of Duckett. Specifically, Chestnut requested the Baltimore State’s Attorney office’s Conviction Integrity Unit to review the case.

In addition to discovering that Baltimore authorities had coerced student witnesses at the time into identifying the three men, investigators also determined that the suspected shooter was killed in 2002. Consequently, the three wrongfully-convicted men were released in November 2019, all of them now in their 50s.

Alongside Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart, 6 other wrongful convictions have been uncovered by the Conviction Integrity Unit in Baltimore, which seeks to investigate and reveal cases of false convictions.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today If You Are Facing Murder Charges

Murder charges carry extremely harsh punishments in California. A 2nd degree murder charge alone can result in 15 years to life imprisonment, while 1st degree or capital murder charges will result in significantly longer time. Wrongful convictions, such as those that occurred to Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart, can therefore lead to a lifetime of unfair punishment that no one should ever have to face. Thus, it is very important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to push forward every fact of your case.

With over 35 years’ of successfully handling serious felony matters including murder charges throughout Southern California, the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will use every possible defense to protect your freedom. Our offices are located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, and Torrance.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to speak with an attorney near you. We will be there when you call.

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