On September 24, 1992, Christopher Davis was shot to death in a Birmingham, Alabama pool room, allegedly because he refused to return cocaine that he found after another man discarded it while being chased by police.
Anthony Embry and Falanda Miles were charged with the killing based on eyewitness accounts. Embry pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Miles was acquitted at trial.
In April 1996, Louis Griffin, a member of a Harlem, New York drug gang, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act for providing security for the 142nd Street Lynch Mob crew. The crew supplied drugs to numerous parts of the country, including Alabama.
In his elocution, Griffin admitted taking part in the murder of Davis along with another man named Rapheal Bimbo in Birmingham. As a result, authorities exonerated Embry and charged Griffin with the murder of Davis.
In 1997, Griffin and Bimbo went to trial in Jefferson County. Prosecution witness Johnny Spragg claimed that Griffin and a man named Johnny Ferrell had been hired for $4,000 to kill Davis because he would not return the cocaine. The witness, Johnny Spragg, drove the getaway car after the killing and said that afterward, he and Bimbo threw the two guns used in the murder into a lake in a Birmingham city park.
Griffin denied that he was involved in the murder, contending that he had lied in federal court in attempt to get a lighter sentence. Defense attorneys contended Spragg, who had also pleaded guilty in the New York federal case, was lying because the guns were never found.
Griffin and Bimbo were convicted by a jury. Griffin was sentenced to death. Bimbo was sentenced to life in prison.
In August 2000, the Alabama Supreme Court set aside Griffin’s conviction, ruling that the trial judge had wrongly barred Griffin’s attorneys from presenting evidence that Embry and Miles had been charged with the Davis murder and that Embry had pleaded guilty.
In December 2001, Griffin went on trial again and was acquitted. After the trial, he was returned to federal custody to resume serving the 30-year term he received in the New York case.
– Maurice Possley