THE SAGA OF TIMOTHY RICE
REGINALD SINCLAIR LEWIS
Reginald S. Lewis
PO Box 244
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
It is now clear why the prosecution felt a
need to withhold evidence crucial to the defense.
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.
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?
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
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