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Frank Meadows, Jr.

Other Alabama exonerations
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/Quinton_Cook_Frank_Meadows.jpeg
Shortly after 6 a.m. on April 12, 1992, a caller to police in Leeds, Alabama said a woman was crawling along Floyd Bradford Road near Highway 78. After an initial search was unsuccessful, the 28-year-old woman, identified as A.G., was found on the front porch of a nearby home.

A.G. said she had been offered a ride home by two men who beat her and then raped her. Her T-shirt had been cut open as had her blue jean coverall shorts. In her initial statement to police, A.G. said she came out of the Patio Lounge, in Leeds, and accepted a ride home from two men. She said one was driving and the other got into the back seat with her. On the way, the man began to beat her. She was driven to a remote area where both men raped her, and then dumped her out of the car, A.G. said.

She was unable to tell them where the attack occurred because her eyes had swollen shut. Eventually police found the location based on blood found on the ground. A pocket knife was recovered, though no blood or other evidence was found on it.

Leeds officer Terry Miller took the initial report in which A.G. said the man who beat and raped her was named “Ray” and that he was tall and slim. A.G. said her attackers were from nearby Pell City. A.G. had consumed marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol prior to the attack.

A rape kit was taken, and A.G.’s clothing was taken as evidence. Two days later, Leeds police said A.G. said her attackers were 18-year-old Frank Meadows Jr. and his 20-year-old brother, Quinton Cook. She identified them in a photographic lineup.

On April 21, 1992, arrest warrants were issued. Cook was picked up that day. Meadows was not taken into custody until four months later.

Although A.G. had described her attackers as tall and slim, the brothers were both 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed at least 185 pounds. Meadows would later say he weighed close to 300 pounds.

The original police report naming “Ray” as the woman’s attacker was not disclosed. Officer Miller later stated that he was concerned at the time that his reports were not being included in the County’s files.

On December 13, 1993, Cook and Meadows went to trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court. A.G. testified and identified both men as her attackers. A laboratory analyst from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences testified that no semen had been found in the rape kit, and as a result no blood typing analysis was done.

A report of the laboratory testing showed that two head hairs had been found in A.G.’s clothing, and that both hairs were “inconsistent” with head hair from A.G., as well as Cook and Meadows. However, that report, like the initial police report, was not disclosed to the defense.

The brothers presented alibi evidence. Cook said he had been at home nursing an infected tooth which would be extracted shortly after his arrest. Three witnesses said Meadows was in the Patio Lounge at the time of the attack.

On December 17, 1993, the jury convicted both brothers of first-degree rape. They were each sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Cook was released on July 14, 2014, after serving 20 years and six months in prison. Meadows was released on May 5, 2015, after serving more than 21 years in prison. Both men were required to register as sex offenders.

In 2019, Cook’s ex-wife, Sharon Cook, went to the Leeds police department seeking information about an unrelated matter involving Cook. The police dispatcher turned over a stack of files. Included in this stack was Officer Miller’s original report containing A.G.’s statement that the attackers were from Pell City, one was called “Ray,” and they were tall and slim.

She gave the report to Cook and Meadows, who took it to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney, Danny Carr, told them to take it to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Lieutenant Wendell Major, who had formerly been a commanding officer in the Leeds police department, was assigned to look into the matter.

Ultimately, the District Attorney’s office subpoenaed records from the County Clerk’s office and the Leeds Police department. The prosecution discovered the lab report which said that Cook and Meadows, as well as A.G., had been excluded as the source of two hairs found on A.G.’s clothing.

In 2022, attorney Leroy Maxwell filed petitions for relief on behalf of both men. The petitions said that previously undisclosed laboratory reports showed that blood recovered from the scene of the crime had not been tested, and that the initial police reports indicating another perpetrator were never turned over to the defense for trial.

At a hearing in October 2022, Major, who by then was the chief of police in Tarrant, Alabama, testified that Miller had previously expressed concern that his reports were not being included in the county’s investigative files.

On October 25, 2022, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Shanta Owens granted the petitions and vacated both men’s convictions. The judge ruled that the men had met their burden for obtaining relief on the basis of actual innocence.

The prosecution said it would not seek to retry Cook and Meadows. On November 14, 2022, Judge Owens dismissed the charges.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 1/6/2023
Last Updated: 1/6/2023
State:Alabama
County:Jefferson
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1992
Convicted:1993
Exonerated:2022
Sentence:20 years
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No