18% of known exonerees were convicted because they pleaded guilty to a crime they didn’t commit, and around 65% of those who pleaded guilty are people of color.
Statistics provided by the Innocence Project
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#1. Junk Science
The only piece of forensic evidence connecting Billy to the scene of the crime is a shoe print lifted from the restaurant countertop. However, the shoes in question were the most popular shoe of 2010. Mounting evidence suggests that shoe print identification is extremely inaccurate, yet it was the only piece of forensic evidence used against Billy.
#2. False Testimony
In 2018, Benny Lyles – the only person to tell police that Billy was at the crime scene, admitted to fabricating his entire statement due to bad blood with Billy. In an interview with Lyles, he stated a highschool fight among their cliques was what fueled his resentment and ultimately drove his false testimony.
#3. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Timothy McKenna, Billy’s public defender had never dealt with a criminal case before, let alone a murder case. McKenna explained to Billy that a testimony from Lyles would be a seal of fate.
Billy, left stranded without money, hope, or counsel, accepted the plea deal offered.
Billy was exploited and unable to prove his innocence at trial in a system that should’ve assumed his innocence from the beginning.