THE SAGA OF TIMOTHY RICE

by

REGINALD SINCLAIR LEWIS


Reginald S. Lewis
#AY2902 .
PO Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244

You don't have to be a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to have seen national news coverage of the six corrupt police officers from the 39th District who were convicted and sent to prison for the beatings, robberies, and frame ups of hundreds of poor blacks suspects, who were innocent.

Even Sister Betty Patterson, a fiercely religious elderly black grandmother who had never had as much as a traffic ticket- was framed by the same corrupt cops from the 39th district.

This poor old black woman was so deeply scarred by the experience she moved out of the city she'd resided in for so many years.

In this climate of racism and injustice, it is not at all difficult to understand how Timothy Rice, a poor, young 24 year African-American man ended up on Pennsylvania's death row.

A cop pumped five bullets into him on the streets of Philadelphia-then lodged a series of bogus charges against him in an attempt to cover up his crime. Timothy filed a lawsuit against the Philly police Department, and in 1995, he was awarded $85,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

'Two months later, on September 1 ,1996, he was arrested for the shooting death of two men in a bar in Philadelphia. He was arrested two hours after the murders and the police seized his clothes, checked his hands for gunshot residue and they found none!

On the night of the crime, and when the memory of eyewitnesses are most fresh - they gave statements .to the police that the shooter was a "Bald Headed Male". They repeated this testimony under oath-that the culprit was a "Bald Headed Male".  Even the arresting police officers, Jessie Staten, Detective Fetters, and Detective Picc testified that young Timothy Rice had a full head of hair on the night of his arrest. Can a totally bald man grow a full head of hair in two- hours?

There was absolutely no motive given for this senseless murder- nor did the prosecutor ever attempt to establish one. More egregiously, Officer Charles Jackson seized the clothes of his brother Bernard Jackson, a victim, and those of another victim, Randall Rogers, and took their clothes home for two long days -without official authorization to do so. Nor was there any official reason given for a cop, who was a brother of a murder victim, to disappear with a "bullet", bloody clothes, and other forensic evidence essential to a murder investigation.
 
The evidence should have moved up the official chain of custody, but every single police procedure was violated in this case. The witnesses testified that the shooting was at close range-so why wasn't gunshot residue tested?

A .357 magnum produces powerful explosion and gunshot residue- but there was not a single trace found anywhere on young Timothy Rice! The "bullet" extracted from the body of victim Randall Rogers was conclusive proof that he could not have committed these murders. But the "bullet" was withheld by the prosecutor Bill Fisher for well over a year.

In spite of a flurry of requests by the young defendant, the prosecutor adamantly refused to turn over exculpatory evidence, saying, "I will not turn over this 'bullet' because it will help your case." This judicial arrogance and indifference to the plight of a young defendant is astounding.
.
It is now clear why the prosecution felt a need to withhold evidence crucial to the defense.

Recently, revelations found buried in volume 1, of October 6,1997, trial transcript, leaves little doubt that Timothy Rice was indeed framed. A bullet removed from Randall Rogers matched the firearm found lying next to Mr. Jefferson. In other words, this is " exculpatory evidence" that proves the real killer COULD NOT HAVE BEEN Timothy Rice!  Moreover, it shows it was one of the victims himself! Or the likelihood that they shot each other.

In a Philadelphia Police Department Criminalistics laboratory report, (that recently emerged, and the prosecution never turned over to the defense) shows two bullet holes in the T-shirts of the victims. Yet the prosecutor claimed evidence showed there were only single bullet holes in the victims' T-shirts!

Why did his lawyer put forth a flimsy and idiotic tale about "self defense?" Why did he convince Timothy Rice to forfeit his sixth amendment right to be tried by a jury of his peers- and instead, argue his case before a lone sitting judge- who sentenced him to death?

Young Timothy Rice told his lawyer that he was innocent and that the police set him up. A fair minded jury could have found a mountain of reasonable doubt to acquit him of this senseless double murder- but young Timothy Rice never had a chance !

© Copyright Reginald S. Lewis 2003

Young Timothy desperately needs your help to win his freedom. Without sufficient funds there is no way a young poor black defendant can fight the charges the state and corrupt police has lodged against him. I you're a law firm, investigator, or someone who could help him set up his legal defense fund, please write to him:
 
Timothy Rice
#DV-2363
P.O. Box 256 Route 6
Waymart, PA 15510



Reginald S. Lewis is a Widely Published, Award-Winning poet, essayist, and a playwright-also on Pennsylvania's death row. He is the author of two books of poetry, entitled, LEAVING DEATH ROW and INSIDE MY HEAD

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