Man in prison for 13 years could be declared innocent, freed
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A man 13 years into a prison sentence for murder is adamant that he is innocent. Now he's finally convincing others to believe him.
When Kerry Porter said he didn't kill Tyrone Camp in December of 1996, the jury didn't believe him. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison and even failed to win an appeal.
That's until a police interview conducted more than a year ago surfaced and drastically changed his case. Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel says, "We are moving in the direction of clearing Mr. Porter, but we are not there yet."
It was the March 2010 comments of Francois Cunningham, a hired killer who cut a deal to testify as a government witness against Ricky Kelly, that made the difference. That was a separate case, in which Kelly was charged with eight murders.
Cunningham's statement was sealed as part of witness protection and just recently released. He told police that Juan Sanders plotted with Camp's wife Cecilia and killed Tyrone for life insurance money: "She don't want him no more and, you know, better him go down for it than us."
Porter said the same thing during his trial, but Cunningham knew details that were never released. The shotgun used to kill Camp was muffled with a silencer made of duct tape and carpet. Both were found at the murder scene and have been sent off for testing.
Stengel says, "The DNA may not be the conclusive factor. We may decide we have enough to clear him."
Officials now believe Porter was a pawn, as he had a previous relationship with Camp's wife.
Melanie Lowe of the Kentucky Dept. of Public Advocacy has been working to overturn the conviction and says, "He's excited about the prospect that this nightmare could be over soon." She's critical of police because they never told her of Cunningham's interview, which backs Porter's story.
LMPD Sgt. Denny Butler says, "Should I have called them? Absolutely, and that slipped at the end. But the claim that we have done something wrong or prosecutors have done something wrong couldn't be further from the truth."
So after 13 years behind bars, Kerry Porter could be free in a matter of weeks. Lowe says, "He's anxious to get back to his life and put what's left of it back together."
Cecilia Camp and Juan Sanders have not been charged, although Sanders is currently serving time on an unrelated manslaughter and drug charge.
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