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William A. Maynard


On April 3, 1967, Robert Crist and James Barnhardt were involved in an altercation in Greenwich Village. Crist testified that Barnhardt had confronted him, which led Crist to chase and strike Barnhardt. The two were separated by police officers who walked Crist away from Barnhardt.
 
William Anthony “Tony” Maynard, a black man, along with a white companion, confronted Crist for striking the older and smaller man. An argument ensued for several minutes until Sgt. Michael Kroll, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, arrived. Maynard and his companion left, and Kroll and Crist drove after them in Kroll’s car.
 
Crist and Dennis Morris, both witnesses, testified they saw Maynard shoot Kroll in the face with a sawed-off shotgun. Michael Febles, another witness, identified Maynard as the person he had seen arguing with Crist. Febles said that he had heard the shot fired, though he did not see who fired it. Febles also testified he had seen Maynard and his companion run away. Howard Fox, a cab driver, testified that in the afternoon before the shooting, he drove Maynard and another person to Greenwich Village, and that Maynard’s friend had a camera bag over his shoulder.
 
Maynard was accused based on the eyewitness testimony of Robert Crist, Dennis Morris, and Michael Febles. The first trial for Maynard in 1969 ended in a hung jury. The second ended in a mistrial. The third trial resulted in a conviction for manslaughter in the first degree on December 9, 1970. Maynard was sentenced to a maximum term of ten to twenty years for the crime.
 
Lewis M. Steel, Maynard’s attorney, reportedly filed five motions for a new trial. Steel’s efforts were unsuccessful until the medical and criminal history of key witness Febles was discovered: Febles had a severe psychiatric history and had been convicted of disorderly conduct in 1966.
 
Justice Lang set aside Maynard’s conviction and ordered a new trial on March 29, 1974. In a 20-page ruling, Lang stated that the prosecution had withheld information about Mr. Febles despite defense requests and a subpoena for it. At the request of District Attorney Richard H. Kuh, the case against Maynard was dismissed in August 1974.
 
State:NY
County:New York
Most Serious Crime:Manslaughter
Reported Crime Date:1967
Convicted:1970
Exonerated:1974
Sentence:10 to 20 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:33
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct