It is Politcal Prisoner Friday here at SCISSION and today I want to present you with a man who has spent four decades now in prison for a crime he will tell you he did not commit. That man is Muhammad "Fred" Burton.
It is a story we have already told you a thousand times it seems, just a different name attached.
Part of the story is the continued lies of the main witness against Muhammad, mentioned above. Lies which have since been documented, lies which at the original trial and such were called "contradictions."
Philly City Paper reported in 2007 this witness, Marie Williams:
"... told the jury she heard six men, including Burton, talk about "eliminating pigs" in her West Philly basement during a meeting of an alleged offshoot of the Black Panther Party. Between Aug. 30 and Dec. 7, 1972, Williams flipped her story at least four times, according to official documents. Sometimes, Burton was at the meeting. Sometimes, he wasn't. Other times, she said she never overheard the conversation."
The paper also wrote:
"Recently, Burton's fiancee, Ethel Paris, and friend Lee Wells found two documents while rooting through dusty court records that never came up during trial: a letter from Williams to the district attorney and her sworn statements during a closed immunity hearing. Williams said in both documents that her testimony against Burton was coerced."
At the trial, the judge instructed the jury,
"If you reject the testimony of Mrs. [Marie] Williams," the prosecution's star witness to the effect that the defendant was one of six men who conspired to kill policemen, then the Commonwealth's case against this defendant falls, and he must be found not guilty."
The jury didn't and Muhammad is still in prison.
"Fred Muhammad Burton has been falsely imprisoned for 35 years. Fred was convicted in 1972 for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman, the result of the August 29th,1970 attack on the Cobbs Creek Park police station by the Black Unity Council, a Philadelphia based revolutionary organization. Fred's conviction was based solely on the coerced and false testimony of Marie Williams, the wife of Fred's co-defendant, Hugh Williams. Marie Williams stated in a letter to the court that her testimony was given under extreme duress, a result of her being interrogated for 19 hours by Philadelphia homicide detectives. At the time of her interrogation, Marie Williams was pregnant and was given only an egg sandwich and coffee during this 19 hour period of time. These detectives threatened her husband, Hugh with the death penalty, unless she sign a statement implicating Fred in the conspiracy to attack and kill Philadelphia cops. This coerced testimony was hidden from the jury by the Philadelphia District Attorney."
The following is from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross.