In December 1996, 22-year-old Martin Hubbard, a passenger in a car, was shot and killed in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The driver of the car, Hubbard's cousin, was the only witness and identified 23-year-old Dwight LaBran as the shooter. The driver told police that he and Hubbard had given LaBran a ride, and LeBran shot Hubbard.
The driver also claimed that LaBran shot at him as well but the bullet had grazed his head.
At trial in Orleans Parish District Court, the only evidence against LaBran was the witness’s testimony.
Although LaBran had an alibi, he was convicted by a jury in July 1997 of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Following his conviction, LaBran discovered that the witness had given a false name to police and at trial to avoid being arrested on several parole violations.
LaBran’s conviction was overturned on appeal based on the witness’s perjury, and the prosecution dismissed the charges in December 2001.
By Maurice Possley