Philadelphia Man Freed After 37 Years Due to ‘Sex for Lies’ False Witness

In Summary

The trial witness was charged with perjury after Stokes was convicted of murder in 1984, although he didn’t know about the perjury plea until 2015.

On Jan. 4, a Philadelphia man named Willie Stokes was released from prison after spending almost four decades in a case tarnished by detectives who allegedly offered sex and drugs to a witness in exchange for a false testimony back in 1983, according to NBC10 Philadelphia

The trial witness was charged with perjury after Stokes, now 61 years old, was convicted of murder in 1984, although he didn’t know about the perjury plea until he was 31 years into his life sentence in 2015. 

RELATED: Christopher Williams Sues Philadelphia After Wrongful Conviction

He walked out of a state prison close to Philadelphia, looking forward to getting a hug from his mother and a corned beef hoagie, according to NBC10 Philadelphia. However, his mother was very nervous to come after a number of disappointments, so instead, he greeted his other family members. 

“I can’t wait to go home and see my mother,” Stokes said to NBC10 Philadelphia. 

Both detectives who allegedly offered witness Franklin Lee, who was in custody for unrelated murder and rape charges, the sex-for-lies deal have since passed away, according to NBC10 Philadelphia. 

RELATED: Former Philadelphia Detectives Charged for Black Man’s Wrongful Conviction

Even though Lee recanted the story in 1984 during Stokes’ murder trial, Stokes was convicted and sentenced to prison for life. 

“Today is a tremendous day. We’re all very thankful,” Michael Diamondstein, Stokes’ lawyer, said. “However, it’s also a sad day, because it reminds us of how lawless, unfair and unjust Philadelphia law enforcement was for so long.”  

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is in support of Stokes but hasn’t decided whether or not to retry him. 

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