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Jul-12-2006 23:23TweetFollow @OregonNews
Mother Fights for Her Son's Innocence (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
Alesia Walker says the man who killed Phillip Gillins is walking around scot-free while her son, wrongly convicted, sits behind bars.
(EUGENE) - The mother of 23-year old Darrell Sky Walker says her son was wrongly convicted of manslaughter in the June 2005 death of 22-year-old college student Phillip Gillins in Eugene. Alesia Walker of Riverside, California, says her son was wrongly convicted in Lane County by a system that failed to turn up key witnesses who could have cleared him.
Walker says the incident happened when her son and two of his friends, J.D. Beall and Ryan Joyce, were walking near Taylor’s Bar in Eugene. She says two men standing nearby yelled racial slurs toward the two white men accompanying Walker, who is black.
The racial slurs led to a fight, and during the fight Phillip Gillins was struck to the ground. Several witnesses reported that J.D. Beall bragged about the knockout punch. That is until Gillins died in the hospital four days later from injuries he suffered in the fight.
Over the course of a year, Eugene Police say they tried but were unable to contact Walker’s friend Ryan Joyce. But when Sterling Alexander of the NAACP set out to locate him, he found Joyce in the first four hours, the first time he tried.
Others say Joyce had been drinking regularly at Taylor's during the entire period that police in Eugene say they were unable to locate him.
Since being located, both J.D. Beall and Ryan Joyce, have cited their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify. That is, after five witnesses testified that Beall admitted to knocking out Gillins.
Citing the location of Joyce and other witnesses who had materialized since the NAACP’s involvement, a letter was drafted by attorneys on Walker’s behalf and forwarded to the office of the Lane County District Attorney F. Douglass Harcleroad, asking for a new trial.
The request was refused, Halcleroad saying the conviction is one that his office will stand behind, “absent new and strongly compelling evidence of his innocence.” The team representing Walker say that is, indeed, exactly what they have. Increasing political pressure from activists like the Reverand Jesse Jackson and the national office of the NAACP is expected to bring new light on this case.
Watch the video report below by Salem-News.com's Tim King
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