Terrell Johnson is Free!

Terrell Johnson is Free!

TERRELL JOHNSON RELEASE VIDEO: Paige Krivda, reporting. Darlene Natale, videography
Terrell Johnson greets his granddaughter upon release. Photo by Darlene Natale.

After 18 years of incarceration, Terrell Johnson was acquitted of murder.
Following four days of witness testimony and two days of jury deliberation at his retrial, Terrell Johnson was acquitted of all
charges when the jury disregarded the testimony of discredited eyewitnesses.
Defense Attorney, Turahn Jenkins, discredited key witness, Evelyn “Dolly” McBryde’s testimony that placed Johnson at the scene in 1994. At the time of her testimony in 1994, McBryde was facing multiple charges for theft and prostituting her children.  Between 1994-1997 McBryde was provided $10,000 for drug rehabilitation and hotels as well as $1,000 for apartment rent. However, prosecuting attorney, Russell Broman, stipulated that “Ms. McBryde has not been given money for testimony”.
Jurors were taken to the street in Hazelwood to see that bushes and the gate McBryde testified to hiding in as the murder took place. McBryde’s testimony was torn to shreds when she was unable to identify exactly which bushes she was hiding in.
The owner of the gate Mcbryde insisted she went through on the night of the murder testified on Monday that it was impossible since the gate has been locked for thirty years and she had dogs at the time.

Terrell Johnson (left) with his wife and attorney after release.
In his closing arguments Jenkins focused on McBryde, “This is the person they want you to believe? Come on! She is a documented liar” while holding up 18 pages of McBryde’s criminal history.

Victim’s mother changes testimony

The only other witness that placed Johnson at the scene was the victim’s mother, Barbara Robinson. She came forward last week claiming to identify Terrell Johnson, Harold Cabbagestock, and Dorian Moorefield as the men who walked past her house three times before her daughter was murdered.  In 1994 she testified repeatedly “I didn’t see no faces…I did not recognize them…we were talking, and I didn’t pay them no attention”.
When approached with her previous statements Barbara Robinson claimed “that’s what it says in those transcripts, but I didn’t say that…You can only say so much. Now I’m telling it like it is”
“I think that she’s a hurt mom and she wants justice and she doesn’t care if it’s the right one or not,” said Johnson’s wife Saundra Colemackamey.

“I think she should focus on the people who were supposed to help her- who were supposed to protect her daughter but didn’t- like the police,”  Colemackamey concluded.

Jenkins stated his sympathy for Barbara Robinson in his closing statement, “No one should ever have to bury their children…but she doesn’t know who those guys were. She didn’t know then, and she doesn’t know now”.

Johnson released into arms of his family


Crowds of family, friends, and reporters greeted Terrell Johnson when he was released yesterday evening from the Allegheny County Jail.
Johnson turned down a plea deal  that would have sent him free two years ago in exchange for his confession to the murder of Verna Robinson, “Because I didn’t do it. I ain’t got no regrets”.
Johnson pointed to members of the Point Park Innocence Institute,  “That’s my family right there. They never gave up. I appreciate it all. They did everything that I needed them to”.
Johnson hugged all of his family who has been fighting for his innocence since his wrongful conviction in 1994 including his wife Saundra and his granddaughter.
“All these people came together because of it,” said Johnson.
Defense Attorney Turahn Jenkins hugged Johnson’s family, as they thanked him for his hard work on Johnson’s case.

“It’s over. He waited a long time for this- too long,” said Jenkins.
Johnson is excited to see old friends again, “My first stop is Hazelwood. Back Home”.

Terrell Johnson with granddaughter. Photo by Darlene Natale.

Johnson savors his freedom. Photo by Darlene Natale.

Johnson plays with his grandchild. Photo by Darlene Natale.

All Out for Terrell's Trial September 4th

Pack the Courtroom for Terrell's Trial!
  Tuesday  September 4th.
Trial may go through Friday. 
Court of Common Pleas - Allegheny Courthouse 436 Grant Street
Contact hrcfedup@gmail.com or call Bret 412-654-9070 for more info 
The Justice for Terrell Campaign, the Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! chapter, and community members gathered outside the City County building in Pittsburgh in support of Terrell Johnson, a resident of Hazelwood who was framed and convicted on a murder charge in 1995. 
Terrell won a new trial in 2009 which has been postponed for three years.  He was offered a deal in 2010 to accept a lesser plea of 7-15 years and could have walked out of prison on time served.  He refused the deal because he is innocent.  His new trial was granted after newly discovered evidence proved the Commonwealth's only witness that implicated him in the homicide, Evelyn McBride, was lying and cutting deals with the cops in exchange for favorable treatment in her own cases.  
 Because of the lack of evidence against Terrell and the shaky testimony of the prosecutions only witness, Evelyn McBryde, the DA has convinced the victim's mother, Barbara Robinson, to testify against Terrell.
Verna Robinson was murdered on July 21, 1994, after Pittsburgh police officers dropped her off at her mother's home in Hazelwood instead of placing her in protective custody.  Verna was supposed to be in the witness protection program because of her testimony regarding another shooting in Hazelwood.  Two other men were charged in the shooting death of Verna Robinson.  One was convicted of a lesser charge of conspiracy.  The other was exonerated due to competent lawyering that exposed Evelyn
McBryde perjuring herself on the stand.

Although Barbara Robinson, the victim's mother, testified at all three previous trials that she could not identify any of the people who killed her daughter, she has now changed her story and said she could identify one of the assailants as Terrell.

"There is no physical evidence in this case," says Saundra Cole, Terrell's wife and lead organizer of the Justice for Terrell campaign.  "Every night, the cops and Commonwealth attorneys who conspired to frame Terrell and continue to hold him despite the proven absence of evidence get to go home to their family.  Terrell goes to sleep in a prison cell while his wife and children are forced to go another day without him at home."

Saundra is confident that long awaited trial will finally provide the opportunity to "let justice prevail" in this case.