On August 3, 1992, 34-year-old Samuel George, an alleged crack dealer, was murdered by a shot fired from a passing car as he stood on a street corner in Westwego, Louisiana, a small town on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish.
Charged with the murder were Glenn Davis Jr., 19; Larry Delmore, 23; and Terrence Meyers, 22.
They were prosecuted on the basis of the testimony of a single eyewitness, Norman Jackson, an admitted crack user with an extensive criminal record, who said Delmore fired the fatal shot while Meyers drove and Davis sat in the back seat.
Their first trial ended in a mistrial when Delmore and Davis were beaten outside the courthouse during a lunch break. The beating was unrelated to the murder. Judge Patrick McCabe ordered the mistrial when Delmore and Davis came back to court with puffy eyes from the beating.
During the second trial, Delmore was removed from the courtroom for cursing and shouting that he was innocent. He was returned to the trial shackled and his mouth covered with tape. The restraints were later removed and while the jury was deliberating, Delmore left the courthouse and went home. He surrendered three days later.
All three were then convicted of second degree murder on July 2, 1993 and sentenced to life in prison. Delmore received separate six month terms for leaving the courthouse and for his courtroom outburst.
In 2002, lawyers from Innocence Project New Orleans began investigating the case. By that time, Jackson, the eyewitness, had been dead after being stabbed five years earlier.
Innocence Project lawyers found evidence that had not been disclosed to lawyers for the defendants. Evidence included statements that another man, Derek “Blake” Richardson, had told people he was the killer, that Richardson drove a car that matched the description of the car seen driving away from the murder, and that other witnesses said Jackson was nowhere near the murder and could not have seen who killed the victim.
In October 2004, an appeals court ordered the state district court to hold a hearing and in February 2008, Judge Greg Guidry set aside Davis’ conviction and ordered a new trial. The judge found that the evidence discovered by the Innocence Project was exculpatory and had been withheld. The court also ruled that attorney Anderson Council, who represented all three defendants at trial, had a conflict of interest because he had provided legal assistance to Richardson—the man alleged to be the true killer. (Richardson was shot to death in December 1993.)
Davis was released on bond. A month later, the convictions of Delmore and Meyers were set aside and they were released on bond. On September 24, 2010, the state dismissed the charges against all three defendants.