A Philadelphia man who had spent25 years on death row but had been exonerated of all charges in six murder cases was shot and killed on Friday while taking part in a funeral procession for another man who had previously been incarcerated.
Philadelphia man on death row for 25 years, cleared of 6 murders, shot and killed attending funeral: reports | Fox News
In February 2021, Christopher Williams, 62, was released after serving nearly three decades. He was released after being cleared of four homicides. He was previously cleared of two other murder charges from the same jailhouse informant.
Williams, a father of six, was shot once in the head after getting out of his car at Mount Peace Cemetery in north Philadelphia, close to the 3000 block of Lehigh Avenue, three minutes before 2:30 on Friday. He had been operating the motorcade for Tyree Little, another man who had served time in prison.
The city of Philadelphia has made settlement payments of about $10 million to some exonerated criminals who served 25 years or more in prison, even though the state of Pennsylvania does not provide compensation for those who have been wrongfully convicted. Williams’ murder has instilled fear in other exonerees, who are now fighting in court for sizable settlements as newly free men.
Williams’ lawsuit, which he had brought against Philadelphia last year, was still pending when he passed away. “Although we are actually innocent, not everyone believes it,” said Theophalis “Bilal” Wilson, who was Williams’ co-defendant in a triple homicide and was cleared after serving 28 years in prison.
Williams and Wilson, family friends from the city’s Germantown neighborhood, were charged with conspiring to murder three drug dealers from New York and being gang members. The District Attorney’s Officer later acknowledged in court documents that the two men’s case was “built on a house of cards.”
The prosecution admitted that the jailhouse informant’s testimony was false and that there was a lot of hidden evidence and forensic evidence that directly refuted the informant’s account. Williams was previously convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the killing of Michael Haynesworth.
Williams was initially given a death sentence for the murders of the three drug dealers. For the triple homicide, Williams was cleared in December 2019 and Wilson in January 2020. When the Haynesworth murder case was later reviewed by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), it was found that Williams’ testimony was at odds with the physical evidence that was present, according to WCAU.
Williams served29 years in prison before being cleared a second time and released. According to his family, Williams wanted to launch his own construction business and re-entry program.
No one has been taken into custody as of yet concerning his slaying.