Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted




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Witnesses Don't Count! -- The Troy Bradford Story

By Kira Caywood, Justice Denied staff writer

I'm a 32-year-old Black male from Columbus, Ohio. On March 11, 1998, I learned through a family member and friend that my picture was on all the Columbus news stations. My family members and I went to the police station to find out why. When I arrived at the police station and told them who I was, they immediately handcuffed me and took me to a small room, read me my rights and told me I was under arrest for numerous offenses. Their accusations ranged from kidnapping to burglary and robbery.

Detective Ron Strollo asked if I wanted a lawyer present. My response was, "For what? I have nothing to hide." He asked me if I knew anything about all these home invasions taking place on the south end of Columbus. I told him, "No."

Meanwhile, Detective Marvin Ellis entered the room. He said, "There's been another robbery on the South side." Detective Strollo looked at me.

"I'm charging you with that one too," he informed me.

Shortly after, a TV news brief showed my photo and featured a victim of the attacks, a Ms. Shoups, who told a reporter that I was not the man. She said she had never seen me in her life.

My lawyer, Fred Benton, hired Richard Smith to investigate. Mr. Smith learned that there had been eight other people robbed and attacked before I was arrested. He spoke to each victim and showed each one my photo. Each one said I was not the man! My lawyer said he feared these witnesses might change their minds, and did not want them to testify on my behalf.

Sure enough, through the influence of the Columbus Police Department, five of those witnesses testified against me. They were allowed to change their stories. One witness picked out a photo of her attacker (not me) while I was sitting right in front of her. She never mentioned my wearing a stocking cap. When she testified in court, she said I was wearing a stocking cap. In fact, the day I turned myself in, I was wearing a stocking cap. The prosecutor claimed the detectives had just made that up.

One woman who said I was her attacker was asked to describe me. She said her attacker was about 5'7" with short hair. She picked his picture out while I was sitting right in front of her. My lawyer asked her how she came up with my name -- she said the detectives said it was me. The other witnesses said their attacker was light or medium skinned, and stood 5'6" - 5'7". I am 6'3" and dark-skinned, and was wearing dreadlocks when I turned myself in. I believe the detectives coached all these witnesses to pick me.

Another victim, a Mrs. Thomas, described her assailant as 15-17 years old, wearing a hat that revealed closely shaven hair on the sides and back of his head, no facial hair, soft-spoken and apparently very intelligent. Mrs. Thomas had seen me before, when we had a disagreement about my friends and me throwing a baseball close to her car. Still, she did not identify me in a photo array shown to her by the Columbus police department on the date of the incident. Neither could she identify me when my photograph was broadcast over television the day of my arrest. Mrs. Thompson told an investigator "The man who attacked me was not Troy Bradford. The man who attacked me was just a little boy, not even half the age of Troy."

There was no physical evidence against me. In the course of the investigation, the police got fingerprints from the doors, tables, VCR, tapes, and window. They got three lifts at my trial and they said the prints didn't match mine.

I have written to many attorneys and media representatives for help, and they all say I have a good case. I desperately need someone to help me prove my innocence! You may contact me at the address below.

Troy Bradford #364-895
P.O. BOX 7010
Chillicothe, OH 45601

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