Freedom for RuEl Sailor
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Please read the facts below giving a detailed description of RuEl's case.
On July 23, 2003, Ru-El Sailor, Cordell Hubbard, and his sister Nichole Hubbard were convicted of multiple felonies in connection with the November 17, 2002, shooting death of Omar Clark. Ru-El Sailor was convicted of aggravated murder and related charges and sentenced to 28 years to life. It is undisputed that there was only one shooter, and Sailor was convicted as that shooter.
However, since Sailor’s trial, numerous witnesses have come forward—including the admitted shooter—to say that not only did Sailor not pull the trigger, but Sailor was not even present at the scene of the crime. During sentencing, Cordell Hubbard admitted to being at the scene with someone named Will, not Ru-El Sailor. In a subsequent affidavit, Cordell Hubbard admitted that not only was he present at the scene—Cordell admitted he was the person who shot and killed Omar Clark. This admission is supported by the results of a polygraph examination.
We now know that the second person present during the murder was indeed someone named Will—William Sizemore. This fact is corroborated by several sources, including Cordell Hubbard’s affidavit, William Sizemore’s own admission to the victim’s family, and statements uttered during the commission of the crime as reported to the police. As the remainder of this Memorandum explains, Ru-El Sailor is innocent of the shooting death of Omar Clark—he was not present and had no involvement whatsoever in the murder. The victim’s brother, Umar Clark, agrees that Ru-El Sailor is innocent and supports Sailor’s request for relief.
In short, Sailor is actually innocent of the murder of Omar Clark and is therefore deserving of relief by the Conviction Integrity Unit. We submit this document on his behalf and request that your office reexamine the application that he previously submitted.
II. STATEMENT OF FACTS
A. The murder of Omar Clark.
On the evening of November 16, 2002, Nichole Hubbard, Ellen “Puddin’” Taylor, Maria Whitlow, the victim Omar Clark, and Clark “Dude” Lamar were at Ellen “Puddin’” Taylor’s house playing cards and drinking beer. (Transcript Page 634 (“Tp.”)). Nichole, Ellen, and Maria were relatively new acquaintances with Mr. Lamar and Omar Clark. (Tp. 633-634). At the end of the night, Nichole agreed to drive Mr. Lamar and Omar Clark home to Englewood Avenue. (Tp. 401, 639).
On their way, Nichole, Maria, Mr. Lamar, and Omar Clark decided to stop to buy a wet cigarette. (Tp 642). Nichole paid $20 for the wet cigarette because Mr. Lamar did not have enough money; Mr. Lamar promised to pay her back. (Tp. 405-407). They all smoked the cigarette while driving to Englewood Avenue, the street where Omar Clark lived and Mr. Lamar was staying. (Tp. 409-410). Once they arrived, Mr. Lamar went into his house to retrieve the money he owed Nichole while Omar stayed by the car. (Tp. 412-413). When he returned, Mr. Lamar did not have enough money to pay Nichole back (he only brought ten dollars with him), so they argued for a minute before Nichole got into her car and she and Maria drove away. Meanwhile, Omar Clark and Mr. Lamar stayed on Englewood Avenue. (Id. at 413, 420; State v. Sailor, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 4766).
Nichole called her brother, Cordell Hubbard, and complained about getting cheated out of the full twenty dollars. (State v. Sailor, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 4766). Cordell stated he “and his nigga Will was on [her] side of town.” (Nichole Hubbard Affidavit (“Nichole Aff.”) (Attached as Exhibit 1)). A few minutes later, Cordell called to let Nichole know he was on Englewood Avenue, the street where the argument occurred. (Id.; 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 4766.) Cordell asked Nichole he guy she argued with was wearing, and she told Cordell the man was wearing a blue Nautica jacket. (Nichole Hubbard Aff.; Tp. 425-426).
After talking to Nichole, Cordell and one other man, who we now know was William Sizemore, got out of Cordell’s car and confronted Mr. Lamar and Omar Clark about the $20. Mr. Lamar was wearing the blue Nautica jacket Nichole had mentioned. (State v. Sailor, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 4766, (Ohio Ct. App. 2004)). Cordell exclaimed to Mr. Lamar “what the f—k you say to my sister” (Tp. 425:12,13), while Omar Clark confronted Cordell with a handgun. (Affidavit of Cordell Hubbard Aff. ¶6, (“Cordell Hubbard Aff.”) (Attached as Exhibit 2)). William Sizemore told Omar Clark to put the gun away and said to Cordell, “Don’t shoot Omar, he is a friend of mine . . . he’s my cousin’s baby’s father!” (December 4, 2002, Investigative Report, Brandon Gibbs Interview (“Gibbs Interview”) (Attached as Exhibit 3); tp.944, 982)). According to the testimony, only one of the people from the car had a gun. (Tp. 426). In other words, William Sizemore, the second person from the car, did not have a gun; only Cordell Hubbard had a gun.
Cordell eventually pulled his weapon and shot at both Omar Clark and Mr. Lamar. (Id. at ¶10). Omar Clark was fatally wounded while Mr. Lamar was only grazed by a bullet. (State v. Sailor, 2004 Ohio App.; Tp. 434.) Cordell and William Sizemore then got back into their car and drove away. (Tp. 1050).
B. Ru-El Sailor was not implicated in the murder until months later.
After Hubbard and Sizemore fled the scene, witnesses approached the wounded Omar Clark and tended to him until the police came. (Tp. 1050). Omar Clark died that same day, November 17, 2002, after arriving at the hospital. (Tp. 256, 257). Omar’s brother, Umar, arrived at the scene and was hysterical. (Tp. 1060). Not long after his brother’s death, Umar Clark began questioning witnesses about the incident. (Tp. 1061). Several days later, eyewitness Larry Braxton led Umar Clark to believe that the shooter “sounds like Cordell.” (Tp. 61). Using this name, the police were eventually able to identify and arrest both Cordell Hubbard and Nichole Hubbard, but not a third person. The identity of the man who was with Cordell was unknown for several months.
Cordell was first arrested in connection to the murder Omar Clark on December 11, 2002. (State of Ohio vs. Cordell Hubbard, CR-02-432205). His sister, Nichole Hubbard, was arrested just over a week later. (State of Ohio vs. Nichole Hubbard, CR-02-432205). The pair had a trial date set for just a few months later in mid-2003, while the investigators continued to look for the second person present at the time of the shooting. (See tp. 1314). Detectives Veverka and Metzler of homicide worked to uncover leads, but they did not have any solid alternate suspects until vice Detective Eugene Jones’s involvement yielded Sailor’s name. (Tp 1321).
C. Ru-El Sailor’s conviction is based solely on witness identifications made months after the crime under questionable circumstances.
Ru-El Sailor was convicted based on identification by two eyewitnesses, Larry Braxton and Mr. Lamar. Neither witness identified Ru-El Sailor as the second person present at the shooting until many months into the investigation after Ru-El Sailor’s name was mentioned by an unidentified informant to an officer who was not even assigned to work this case.
1. Larry Braxton did not identify Ru-El Sailor as the shooter until months after the crime.
Months after the crime, Larry Braxton identified Ru-El Sailor as the shooter. However, that identification occurred after Braxton had reported to police that the shooter was light-skinned, which is significant because Ru-El Sailor is a dark-skinned man. By contrast, Cordell Hubbard is a light-skinned man.
The shooting occurred immediately after witnesses Larry Braxton, Joseph Mayhand, and Brandon Gibbs, pulled up to Braxton’s house on Englewood. (Tp. 1040). Braxton saw an argument happening three houses away, and he began walking towards it in an attempt to calm people down. (Tp. 1042). It was dark outside, with only a streetlight illuminating the area. (Id). As he approached, Braxton noticed one of the men brandishing a weapon. (Tp. 1041-1042). He ran back to his house. (Tp. 1048). Shots were fired, and Braxton observed the scene from just inside his house. (Tp. 1050).
One week later, Braxton spoke to the police. (Tp. 1061). In his initial statement, Braxton described the shooter as “BM 20-25 5’10 Light Skinned.” (See Supplementary Report, December 4, 2002, (“Braxton Report”) (Attached as Exhibit 4). After describing the shooter to the victim’s brother Umar Clark, Umar told Braxton that the shooter “sounds like Cordell.” (Tp. 61).
Several months after this description was recorded in the police report, Braxton picked Sailor out of a photo lineup. (State v. Sailor, Cuyahoga App. No. 83552, 2004-Ohio-5207, ¶8). Braxton was the only witness to do choose Sailor from a line-up; neither Mayhand nor Gibbs were able to make an identification. (Id.).
At a pre-trial suppression hearing, Braxton confirmed his choice of Ru-El Sailor’s photo from the photo line-up. (Tp. 36). Yet Braxton acknowledged that the description of the assailant he provided to Umar Clark matched Cordell: “I didn’t know his name until Umar, that’s the only person I know. But at the same time, he didn’t describe him or anything. I mean, after I described the shooter to Umar, he said that sounds like Cordell.” (Tp. 61). Due to the differences in their skin tone, it is not likely that Umar Clark would conclude that the shooter “sounds like Cordell” if Braxton’s initial description of the shooter had matched Ru-El Sailor.
At trial, Braxton definitively identified Sailor as the shooter, notwithstanding the discrepancy between Ru-El Sailor’s skin tone and Braxton’s initial description of the shooter’s skin tone. (Tp. 1063-1067).
2. Mr. Lamar initially identified Cordell Hubbard as a suspect; he did not identify Ru-El Sailor until the middle of the evidentiary hearing.
Mr. Lamar was with the victim Omar Clark the entire night. Mr. Lamar was wearing the blue Nautica jacket Nichole used to identify the man she argued with to Cordell. (Tp. 424). Mr. Lamar picked Cordell Hubbard out of a photo array. Hubbard was identified in a photo lineup containing 6 photos. (Tp. 453, 454).
Mr. Lamar was also shown Sailor’s photos on several different occasions, but was unable to identify him at those times. (Tp. 210). Mr. Lamar could not identify Sailor when he was shown Sailor’s photograph in a police photo array several months after the shooting, Mr. Lamar was stuck choosing between two different photos in a lineup. (Tp. 458). Before trial, Ru-El Sailor’s attorney, Mr. Mack, asked Mr. Lamar off the record if he could identify the shooter in the courtroom, and Mr. Lamar could not. (Tp. 196-197). It was only after initially stepping off the witness stand at the first day of the evidentiary hearing and talking to Detective Veverka that Mr. Lamar was able to identify Sailor as the shooter, this time identifying him with 100% certainty. (Tp. 211-213, 461, 537).
This point merits emphasis—Mr. Lamar failed to identify Sailor until after he spoke with a detective after seeing (and being unable to identify) Sailor in a photographic line-up or live in the courtroom. While it is unknown what Detective Veverka said to Mr. Lamar, this sequence of events raises questions about the reliability of Mr. Lamar’s identification of Sailor.
3. Detective Eugene Jones named Ru-El Sailor as a suspect.
Vice Detective Eugene Jones was a prominent figure in Sailor’s and the Hubbards’ neighborhood. (Tp. 1331). Although Eugene Jones was not a homicide detective, he investigated the case as a courtesy to the homicide detectives working the case. (Tp. 1372). Jones canvassed the neighborhood looking for information about the crime, eventually obtaining the names of two suspects from an informant. (Tp. 1386; March 25, 2003, Investigative Report of Detective Eugene Jones, (“Jones Report”) (Attached as Exhibit 5)). The first name was Cordell Hubbard, and the second name was Will. (Jones Report). Jones knew Cordell’s name, but did not recognize the name “Will.” (Jones Report). According to Jones’s report, after being misled by some community members, a former high school classmate told Jones that “L was actually Ruel Sailor.” As a result, Jones concluded that the names of the assailants were Cordell Hubbard and Ru-El Sailor. (Tp. 1387). Ru-El Sailor and Cordell Hubbard are long-time friends that Detective Jones had run-ins with, so the connection also made sense to him. (Jones Report).
In short, it appears that the only reason Ru-El Sailor ever become a suspect in this case in the first place was because an unidentified informant mistakenly (whether purposefully or accidentally) confused the name “Ru-El” with “Will”. Had that not happened, there is no reason to believe that Larry Braxton would have ever had the opportunity to misidentify Ru-El Sailor as the shooter, which identification set into motion the chain of events that led to Sailor’s conviction.
D.Ru-El Sailor testified truthfully to his own whereabouts at the time of the crime.
Ru-El Sailor testified at trial about his whereabouts when the murder occurred, namely that he left Benjamin’s bar and drove to the 4U2B bar. (Tp. 1544-1550). This part of Sailor’s testimony was true—he did not go to Englewood and was not present at the murder scene. In an effort to remain loyal to his long-time friend, Sailor also testified that Cordell Hubbard rode with him from one bar to the next such that Cordell could not have been involved in the crime. (Tp. 1564). That part of Sailor’s testimony was not true. Cordell drove with William Sizemore in Cordell’s car to Englewood where he shot Omar Clark. The evidence supporting this fact is detailed in the following section.
III. EVIDENCE OF RU-EL SAILOR’S INNOCENCE
Cordell Hubbard admitted at sentencing, in a sworn affidavit, and in a polygraph that William Sizemore—not Ru-El Sailor—was with him the night of the murder, and this fact is corroborated by numerous other individuals. These individuals did not testify at trial because, according to their affidavits, Detective Jones intimidated them to keep them from testifying on Ru-El Sailor’s behalf. (Affidavit of Bobby Nettles ¶6, (“Bobby Nettles Aff.”) (Attached as Exhibit 6); Affidavit of Anthony McKenzie, (“Anthony McKenzie Aff.”)(Attached as Exhibit 7)).
Importantly, this fact is corroborated by William Sizemore’s own admission to the victim’s brother, Umar Clark, that he was there when Omar was killed. Umar Clark is so convinced that the second man at the scene was William Sizemore, not Ru-El Sailor, that he supports Ru-El Sailor’s application to this conviction integrity unit.
A. Cordell Hubbard admits he Shot Omar Clark and William Sizemore—not Ru-El Sailor—was with him when the shooting occurred.
Cordell Hubbard chose not to testify during the trial, but at sentencing, he finally spoke for the first time about the night of the crime. Cordell admitted that he was present at the scene of the shooting and identified a man named “Will” as the other person with him that night. Cordell stated that Ru-El Sailor was not there that night:
Your honor, there’s a lot of things that the Court doesn’t know, that my lawyer doesn’t know. Ru-El Sailor wasn’t present and -- this night when this took place. It was a guy named Will . . . It was me and Will there, and I – you know, and I – I kept -- I – you know, because I didn’t think it was going to turn out like this, I didn’t think my best friend was going to get convicted as the shooter, but he wasn’t even there, you know. (Tp. 1815).
“Will” is William Sizemore. Sailor’s attorney, Mr. Mancino, provided the Court with William Sizemore’s full name, his address, and his most recent case number (at the time of the crime). (Tp. 1816-1820). Mancino stated that he issued a subpoena for Sizemore; however, Sizemore never appeared. (Tp. 1819).
In April of 2015, Cordell Hubbard voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination regarding his role in the murder of Omar Clark by Bill Evans of Polytech Associates. Mr. Evans’ report of his polygraph examination of Cordell Hubbard is attached as Exhibit 9. (“Hubbard Polygraph”). After conducting a pretest interview, the following questions were asked with the elicited responses indicated:
“1. November 17, 2002, are you the one who shot Omar Clark?
2. When Omar Clark was shot, was Ru-El Sailor present with you?
3. November 17, 2002, did you shoot Omar Clark with your 9mm Glock?
Evans reported that after careful review of the results and the examination in its entirety, the physiological changes were indicative of truthfulness, meaning that no deception occurred. (See Hubbard Polygraph).
B. William Sizemore has admitted he was present at the crime scene.
Since the trial, William Sizemore has admitted to the victim’s brother, Umar Clark, that he was present with Cordell Hubbard at the scene of the crime. (See Affidavit of Umar Clark, (Umar Clark Aff.) (Attached as Exhibit 10); see also Letters to Ru-El Sailor from Umar Clark, (Umar Clark Letters) (Attached as Exhibit 11)). In an affidavit, Umar Clark states that William Sizemore called him soon after the Hubbards and Sailor were convicted of killing Omar. (Id. at ¶1-2). Sizemore and Clark met a couple of days later so that Sizemore could inform Umar Clark about what happened the night Omar Clark was killed. Sizemore stated he was only a “few feet” away from Omar when Omar was killed. (Id.). Sizemore also shared Omar Clark’s last words, which were “help me, Will.” (Umar Clark Aff. ¶2). Sizemore claimed that he “tried like hell to stop this.” (Id.) The name Ru-El Sailor never came up during their meeting. (Id. At ¶3).
After speaking with William Sizemore, Umar Clark contacted Ru-El Sailor through an exchange of letters. (See Umar Clark Letters). These letters indicate that Umar believes William Sizemore was present at the shooting and also that Ru-El Sailor was not at the crime scene. (See Umar Clark Letters). Umar Clark has even promised to help Sailor’s case: “buckle down because I’m gone (sic) fight to free a (sic) innocent man. It’s going to be big attention but the truth is going to set you free.” (Umar Clark Letters, 9-19-10 Letter).
In addition to William Sizemore’s admission to Umar Clark, and Umar’s belief that Sizemore was telling him the truth, statements heard by witnesses to the shooting (as reported to the police) indicate that William Sizemore was the man with Cordell Hubbard at the scene of the shooting. Brandon Gibbs heard, “Don’t shoot Omar, he is a friend of mine . . . he’s my cousin’s baby’s father!” (Gibbs Interview; tp.944, 982-983). Another witness, Larry Braxton, heard one of the men yelling, “he [is] family, he is okay.” (Braxton Report). Further, witness Jermaine Kidd also heard “We family, we family,” coming from one of the men involved in the altercation. (December 4, 2002, Investigative Report, Jermaine Kidd Interview (Kidd Interview) (Attached as Exhibit 12)). These statements make sense only in reference to William Sizemore, not Ru-El Sailor, because as Umar acknowledged, Marquetta Sizemore—a cousin of William Sizemore—was having a baby with Omar Clark. (Umar Clark Letters, Letter Dated 9-19-10).
Lastly, in Mr. Lamar’s initial statement to the police, “the driver of the car said Omar and whatever and I think that Omar and that guy knew each other.” (Statement of Clark Lynn Williams, November 18, 2002 (Mr. Lamar Statement) (Attached as Exhibit 13)). This helps further proves that Omar Clark knew one of the men present the night of the crime, and, combined with other statements, we know this man was William Sizemore.
C.Other individuals confirm Sailor was not at the crime scene.
Several individuals have provided affidavits confirming that Sailor was not involved with the murder of Omar Clark.
1. Bobby Nettles
Bobby Nettles, a friend of Sailor, averred in a February 2014 affidavit that he was with Ru-El Sailor during the timeframe when the crime happened. After nearly 11 years of silence, Nettles stated he was with Sailor the entire time when Hubbard and Sizemore committed the crime. (Bobby Nettles Aff. at ¶1-5). Specifically, Nettles recalled that he and Sailor were at Benjamin’s Bar until 12:30 A.M., then immediately went to the 4U2B bar until closing. (Id. at ¶3-4). Following that, Sailor and Nettles split, with Sailor arriving to St. Aloysius just after 2 A.M. (Tp. 1573). Nettles planned to testify on Sailor’s behalf, but he was discouraged from testifying after Eugene Jones allegedly told his mother that if he testified, “it would be really bad.” (Bobby Nettles Aff. ¶6). Also, “on two other occasions [Detective Jones] has told [Nettles] that if [he] helps Ru-El ‘things will be really bad for [him].’” (Id.).
2. Ronald Snipe
Another friend, Ronald Snipe, provided an affidavit in September 2014. (Affidavit of Ronald Snipe, (“Ronald Snipe Aff.”) (Attached as Exhibit 14)). Snipe stated that Sailor was in his own vehicle the evening of the murder, and that he saw Will and Cordell driving together. (Id. at ¶3-4). Snipe overheard Cordell in an argument, and when he and Will left, Snipe followed the pair. (Id. at ¶2, 5). Snipe followed the two in his own vehicle but got stopped in traffic and fell behind. (Id. at ¶5). Sailor was not with Snipe. (See id.) Nor was Sailor with Cordell. (See id.) Snipe called Cordell’s phone, but Sizemore answered. (Id. at ¶6). Snipe arrived on the scene after the shooting, and called Cordell again because Cordell was no longer present at the scene. (Id. at ¶7). Cordell told him to leave the neighborhood. (Id.).
3. Anthony McKenzie
In addition, in July 2016, Anthony McKenzie, a friend of Sailor and Hubbard, signed an affidavit in which he swore that he saw Cordell and Will Sizemore leave the bar together. (Anthony McKenzie Aff. ¶3). McKenzie stated he learned of the murder from Detective Eugene Jones at a local basketball game, but was then intimidated by Detective Jones from providing information about the night of the crime. (Id. at ¶4-5). Sailor’s defense counsel never contacted McKenzie. (Id. at ¶6).
4. Nichole Hubbard
As explained in the attached affidavit, Nichole Hubbard’s narrative of the events of the evening is in line with the facts developed at the trial. Ms. Hubbard discussed the dispute with Mr. Lamar over the money and her subsequent calls to Cordell. Most importantly, she communicated that Cordell Hubbard told her that he was with “his nigga Will” immediately before arriving on Englewood Avenue. (Nichole Aff.). Ms. Hubbard made no mention of Ru-El Sailor in her statement. (Id.).
D. Ru-El Sailor’s polygraph supports his claim of innocence.
In February, 2015, Ru-El Sailor voluntarily took a polygraph test regarding the question of whether he was present for the shooting of Omar Clark. (February 23, 2015 Polygraph of Ru-El Sailor, (“Sailor Polygraph”) (Attached as Exhibit 15)). This polygraph test was administered by Bill Evans of Polytech Associates, Inc. A copy of Mr. Evans’ report of this examination is attached as Exhibit 9. After conducting a pretest interview, the following questions were asked with the elicited responses indicated:
“1. Did you shoot Omar Clark?
2. Did you pull the trigger on the gun when Omar Clark was shot?
3. Were you there at 105th and Englewood when Omar Clark was shot?
Answer: No.” (Sailor Polygraph)
Mr. Evans reported that after a careful review of the polygraph results and the examination as a whole, that the physiological changes were indicative of truthfulness, meaning that no deception occurred. (See Sailor Poylgraph).
IV. EXPLANATION OF SAILOR’S INNOCENCE
Put simply, Ru-El Sailor was not present on Englewood when Omar Clark was shot. As we now know, the evidence shows that Cordell Hubbard was at the scene with William Sizemore and that Cordell Hubbard shot Omar Clark.
These facts are supported by the evidence explained above, including Cordell Hubbard’s admission that he was present at the scene (during the sentencing hearing) and also that he was the shooter (in his affidavit as supported by the polygraph exam he passed). William Sizemore’s admission to the victim’s brother, Umar Clark, that Sizemore was present at the time of the shooting confirms that Sailor could not have been present since all accounts of the crime indicate only two individuals were there. The fact that Umar Clark believes Sizemore’s admission—and in Sailor’s innocence—bolsters the credibility of that admission, as do the statements reported by witnesses to the crime that would make sense only in reference to William Sizemore. Sizemore’s presence at the crime scene is also supported by Ronald Snipe, who averred that he saw Cordell Hubbard and William Sizemore leave the club together without Sailor just before the time of the shooting.
V. HOW THIS CASE CAN BE FURTHER INVESTIGATED
The case of Ru-El Sailor’s innocence is overwhelming. Nevertheless, if the Conviction Integrity Unit wishes to investigate the case further it could speak with Umar Clark regarding his discussions with William Sizemore. In addition, the Unit could speak with William Sizemore regarding his presence at the crime scene.
ORIGINAL APPLICATION OF INNOCENCE
1. THE CRIME FOR WHICH RU-EL SAILOR WAS CONVICTED
Sailor was convicted of aggravated murder, murder, firearms specifications, kidnaping, and felonious assault. Sailor was sentenced to 20 years to life on each of counts 1 and 2; 15 years to life on each of counts 3 and 4; 3 years on counts 6, 7,8,10, and 12. Some of these sentences were to be run concurrent, some consecutive. In total, Sailor was sentenced to 28 years to life.
2. THE LOCATION AND FACTS OF THE CRIME
On, November 17, 2002 Omar Clark was shot on Englewood Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to the shooting, Omar Clark, Clark Williams, and Nichole Hubbard were playing cards with Maria Whitlow and Ellen Taylor at Taylor’s house. Clark, Williams and Nichole left Taylor’s house to go purchase and smoke a cigarette dipped in PCP. Clark Williams purchased the cigarette with $20 he borrowed from Nichole. Clark, Williams, and Nichole smoked the cigarette. Later, when Nichole dropped Clark and Williams off at Williams’ home on Englewood Avenue, Nichole asked for repayment of the $20. Clark told her he was only going to repay $10 because Nichole shared the PCP cigarette. Nichole became upset. According to Williams, Nichole threatened to call her brother because “y’all got me f—d up.” Nichole called someone and told them that Clark and Lamar were “trying to play her and ...and get her f—d up.” She also told the person on the phone that she was on Englewood Road in Cleveland before leaving the scene. The person on the phone was her brother, Cordell Hubbard.
According to testimony Cordell and another, alleged to be Sailor, arrived at Englewood Road and argued about the $20. Cordell asked Clark Williams, “what the f–k you say to my sister?” Cordell made a phone called and asked the person on the line, “Nichole, what he got on? A blue Nautica jacket?” While Cordell was arguing with Clark Williams, Omar Clark, who knew Cordell attempted to intervene and break up the fight. Eyewitness Brandon Gibbs testified that at this point the other assailant stepped in and said to Cordell “No, you can’t do this. Omar is family. This is my Cousin’s baby daddy.” Williams observed that the other person, allegedly Sailor, had a handgun so Lamar Williams started running away. Lamar Williams heard numerous shots fired behind him.
Three residents of Englewood road witnessed this event. Tenitta Johnson called the police after observing the argument. She testified that she had a good look at the men but could only identify Cordell. Joseph Mayhand heard one of the men say to Clark Williams, “I’m gonna call my sister and if she says this is you, then your ass is out.” Mayhand also observed another man with a gun, he was unable to identify Sailor as that man. Brandon Gibbs saw Clark and Williams arguing with two men he did not know. Larry Braxton, who was with Gibbs, and lives on Englewood, began walking toward the group but turned around when he noticed that one of the men had a gun. Approximately a week later Braxton spoke to the police. While he denies ever telling detectives that the shooter was light skinned, Braxton had previously described the shooter to Umar, the brother of the victim, who told Braxton the description “sounds like Cordell.” Based on Braxton’s testimony where his original description matched Cordell, a light skinned man, it is clear that his account changed in the months after the shooting. Six months later, Braxton picked Sailor out of a line up. Sailor is very dark skinned. Braxton was the only witness to ever identify Sailor to the police.
Williams was able to pick Cordell Hubbard out of a photo array. Williams was unable to identify Sailor when he was shown Sailor’s photograph in a police photo array. When Williams testified at an evidentiary hearing, where Sailor sat as a defendant, he was asked whether he could identify anyone else in the courtroom as the shooter, he said that he could not.
This crime occurred in November, 2002. Hubbard was indicted in early December 2002. Sailor was not a suspect and was not indicted until many months later, in mid April 2003. His trial was set for May 19, 2003. Sailor had little more than a month to hire a lawyer, investigate the charges, engage in pre-trial litigation, and try the case. Sailor believed he would be found not guilty because he was in fact innocent. Sailor testified on his own behalf that he was with Cordell Hubbard at the Benjamin Bar and that they went together to the 4U2B Bar, where they stayed until 2:00 am before going to a party at St. Aloysius. Sailor, in fact, remained at the 4U2B Bar, while Sizemore and Hubbard went to Englewood when they received a call from Nichole Hubbard.
3. EXPLAINATION OF SAILOR’S INNOCENCE
Sailor went out with a few friends on November 17, 2002 at the Benjamin Bar. Sailor, Bobby Nettles, Cordell Hubbard, William Sizemore, Anthony McKenzie, and Ronald Snipe all met up at the 4U2B Bar together. Hubbard received a call from his sister Nichole Hubbard, stating that she was in distress and Hubbard left with William Sizemore to go to Englewood. While at Englewood, Hubbard and Sizemore had an altercation with Clark and Williams which escalated until Hubbard shot Omar Clark. Sailor was not present on the scene. Sailor remained at the 4U2B Bar.
This shooting occurred in the early hours of November 17, 2002. Hubbard became a suspect almost immediately and was indicted in December of 2002. Sailor did not become a suspect until Cordell Hubbard’s attorney filed a witness list/ notice of alibi in March of 2003 stating that Hubbard was at the bar with Sailor. Sailor was neither described nor identified by any persons relative to this case until his name became available through Hubbard’s attorney’s filings and Detective Eugene Jones began inquiring about him in the community.
Sailor, knowing that he was not present at the scene and believing that he could not be convicted, testified inaccurately, that Hubbard stayed with him at the 4U2B Bar all evening. This testimony by Sailor was untrue. Hubbard did not take the stand. It was not until after both Hubbard and Sailor’s convictions that Hubbard was willing to come forward. After the wrongful conviction of Sailor, Hubbard submitted an affidavit stating that he was the shooter and that Sailor was not present.
Within a few weeks of his conviction, Sailor filed a motion for a trial based on newly discovered evidence. At a hearing on the motion, Cordell Hubbard testified that he shot Clark in self-defense and that Sailor had nothing to do with it. He testified that Sailor was not even present. He testified that William Sizemore was with him the night of the shooting. The trial court denied the motion for new trial.
Sailor was not convicted on ANY scientific, physical, or forensic evidence whatsoever. Sailor’s conviction was based solely on witness identification by Larry Braxton and Clark Lamar Williams. Both identifications are highly suspect as will be discussed at length in this application. Additionally, other evidence corroborating Sailor’s innocence has come forward.
4. Evidence Supporting Sailors Claim of Innocence
A. Sailor’s Polygraph
Ru-El Sailor recently passed a polygraph stating that he was not the shooter and was not present during the shooting. On February 23, 2015, Ru-El Sailor voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test performed by Bill Evans of Polytech Associates, Inc., Mr. Evan’s qualifications are embodied in his curriculum vitae, attached as Exhibit 1. Mr. Evans report of his polygraph examination of Ru-El Sailor is attached as Exhibit 2. After conducting a pretest interview, the following relevant questions were asked with the elicited responses indicated;
1. Did you shoot Omar Clark?
2. Did you pull the trigger on the gun when Omar Clark was shot?
3. Were you there at 105th and Englewood when Omar Clark was shot?
Mr. Evan’s reported that after careful review of the polygraphs, and the examination in its entirety, physiological changes indicative of truthfulness (no deception) occurred.
B. Hubbard’s Polygraph
Cordell Hubbard passed a polygraph, stating that he was the shooter and that Ru-El Sailor was not present during the shooting. On April 29, 2015 Cordell Hubbard voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test performed by Bill Evans of Polytech Associates, Inc., Mr. Evan’s qualifications are embodied in his curriculum vitae, attached as Exhibit 1. Mr. Evans report of his polygraph examination of Cordell Hubbard is attached as Exhibit 3. After conducting a pretest interview, the following relevant questions were asked with the elicited responses indicated;
1. November 17, 2002 are you the one who shot Omar Clark?
2. When Omar Clark was shot, was Ru-El Sailor present with you?
3. November 17, 2002 did you shoot Omar Clark with you 9mm Glock?
Mr. Evan’s reported that after careful review of the polygraphs, and the examination in its entirety, physiological changes indicative of truthfulness (no deception) occurred. Mr. Evans contact information is available on Exhibits 1, 2, and 3 if further information is regarding these polygraphs is required.
C. Affidavit of Cordell Hubbard
In August of 2003, Cordell Hubbard submitted an affidavit after electing not to testify at trial. A copy of Mr. Hubbard’s affidavit is attached as Exhibit 4. Cordell Hubbard swore in his affidavit, amongst other things, that; 1. He did not testify at trial, but told Sailor after their convictions that he was in fact the shooter and that he caused the death of Omar Clark 2. The person with him that night was “Will” who he now knows his full name to be Will Sizemore.
3. He and Will arrived and left together at 105th and Englewood the night of the shooting.
4. Omar Clark, the decedent, confronted him with a handgun.
5. Will Sizemore told Omar Clark to “put the gun away.”
6. Sizemore told Cordell Hubbard, “Don’t shoot Omar, he is my cousin’s baby daddy!”
Cordell Hubbard, more than 12 years after the submission of this affidavit maintains these facts to be true. Further, he passed a polygraph as to these facts, as previously stated in this application. Mr. Hubbard has submitted to interview’s by Sailor’s counsel and has indicated both willingness to participate in Sailor’s Conviction Integrity Unit application and submit to any interview by the CIU in furtherance of this application. Please note, that Mr. Hubbard is presently represented by attorney, David L. Doughten who can be reached at 216-870-7745.
D. William Sizemore’s Cousin’s Baby’s Daddy
As noted above Mr. Hubbard’s affidavit asserts that Sizemore told him that he stated, “don’t shoot, he is my cousin’s baby daddy.” This statement is consistent with other eye witness testimony of what was said by one of the men present the night that Omar Clark was shot. Witness Larry Braxton testifies that he hears Clark state, “No, this is family, you all. This is family, calm down, chill out.” (Transcript of May 19, 2003 evidentiary hearing, page 32, Line 2-4). Though Braxton’s identification of the shooters changes wildly five months after the shooting, his statements about what he heard remain consistent. He states in trial that he hears Clark say, “this is family, yall.” (Trial Transcript, 1047).
Additionally, Gibbs testifies that he hears one of the suspects state “Omar is family, he is my cousins baby daddy” (Trial Transcript, Pg 944).
This testimony is consistent with Will Sizemore being the other person present with Cordell Hubbard. Will Sizemore has a cousin named Marquetta Sizemore. Will and Marquetta’s mothers are sisters. They are cousins by blood. Marquetta Sizemore has a child fathered by the victim-decedent Omar Clark. Therefore, if William Sizemore were to state, “Don’t shoot, that my cousin baby daddy.” That statement would be factually accurate as Omar Clark was the father to his cousin Marquetta’s child. Umar Clark, brother of decedent can verify the familial relation between Sizemore and Omar Clark. Umar Clark is available to assist in this unit’s investigation.
E. Larry Braxton’s Testimony
The witness testimony and identification by Larry Braxton and Clark Lamar Williams are the only evidence ever introduced in this case that link Sailor to this crime. The testimony of both men is highly suspect. Each men make initial descriptions early in the case that are inconsistent with Sailor.
Larry Braxton reported to the police the first time that he spoke with them, a week and a half after the shooting, that he saw two light skinned males. He identifies Cordell Hubbard as one of the males, the shooter, when he is first shown a photo array on December 2, 2002. He describes the other male, on December 2, 2002, as having a thin mustache. The police have no other suspect for months. When they determine that Sailor is a suspect, detectives call Braxton into the homicide unit to look at another photo array. Though he had prior described the male as a light skinned, brown man with a light mustache, Braxton inexplicably selects Sailor, a dark skinned man with no facial hair in the photo presented. By the time of his testimony at an evidentiary hearing on May19, 2003, Braxton, now asserts that the second man he identified, Sailor, not Hubbard, was the shooter.
Law enforcement relied on a 6 pack photo array system which is no longer the standard of practice. Further, Braxton’s identification is inconsistent with his own description. Finally, given the body of science around eye witness identification, it is unfathomable that a murder conviction could rest on one witnesses photo identification when EVERY OTHER witness presented with a photo array containing a photo of Ru-EL Sailor failed to identify him as one of the present suspects on the scene.
F. Clark Lamar William’s Testimony
Clark Lamar Williams initially volunteered the description of the two men as having the same skin tone and looking like brothers. (Trial Transcript 605). Williams also states that the suspects have medium brown skin tone (Trial Transcript 490). Hubbard and Sailor do not have the same skin tone and do not look like brothers.
Clark Lamar Williams testifies in the May 19, 2003 evidentiary hearing that he was up close arguing with one individual, while the other individual was on the phone. Soon after the incident, Williams identifies Hubbard in a photo array presented by detectives. He identifies Cordell Hubbard in court on May 19, 2003 as the individual on the phone. He goes on further to testify that he cannot identify the other individual because it was so dark and there were not many street lights. Williams was unable to pick Sailor out of photo array when it was presented to him by detectives in late March 2003. Further, he was unable to identify Sailor in the May 19, 2003 evidentiary hearing when Sailor was already sitting at the defense table, as a co-defendant, next to Cordell Hubbard.
At some point after leaving that hearing, Williams, with a long criminal record himself, had a discussion with Detective Veverka about his testimony. By the end of the day on May 19, 2003 he newly identified Sailor as the shooter. He testified in trial that he was certain Sailor was the shooter, after being unable to describe him, nor identify him in photo array, nor identify him in person in court at the defense table. No evidence was ever provided to Sailor’s defense team indicating what conversation, threats, or promises were made to induce Williams to suddenly change his testimony for trial.
G. Umar Clark’s Affidavit
Umar Clark is the brother of the deceased victim in this case. Umar Clark was contacted by William Sizemore after Hubbard and Sailor were convicted of the Murder of his brother, Omar Clark. Umar Clark’s Affidavit is attached as Exhibit 5.
1. I received a phone call from William Sizemore after Cordell Hubbard and Ru-El Sailor were convicted of murdering my brother. He said that he had to meet with me. He said that he wanted to bring closure to this matter; 2. I met with him a couple days later. He told me that he wanted to let me know what my brother’s last words were. He explained that he “tried like hell to stop this,” Sizemore told me everything that occurred that evening. Sizemore was a few feet away from my brother when he was killed;
3. The name Ru-El Sailor never came up; 4. Sizemore advised me that he asked Cordell why he shot Omar. He reported that Hubbard just had a blank look on his face;
5. I never shared this information with any of Mr. Sailor’s attorneys.
This sworn statement by Umar Clark fully corroborates the facts as presented by Hubbard in his testimony and affidavit. Further, it is supported by the passed polygraphs performed by both Sailor and Hubbard. In the course of this entire case it does not appear that law enforcement, nor any state actor, ever investigated Sizemore regarding his involvement in this case. This information was unavailable to Mr. Sailor and his counsel until 2013. It was used as the basis for a new trial motion, but the trial court denied the motion. Further, the court of appeals argued that it was not new evidence, as it merely corroborated Hubbard’s affidavit and testimony from 2003. Without being given an opportunity for a hearing, Sailor has no opportunity to compel Sizemore to testify.
Umar Clark has represented that he is willing to assist and cooperate with the Conviction Integrity Unit’s investigation in any way possible.
H. Bobby Nettles Affidavit
Bobby Nettles did not come forward with a statement in this case until 2014 because he was intimidated by police detective Eugene Jones. Though Sailor’s defense counsel contacted Nettles contemporaneously with his trial he declined to provide any information as the police warned that “things would be really bad for him.” Nettles provided a statement in February of 2014. In his statement, he swears;
1. On November 16, 2002 I met up with Ruel Sailor at approximately 3pm.
2. As best as I can recall, we met up at his mother’s house; we drove around and “hungout”; 3. We arrived at Benjamin’s Bar at approximately 10:30 p.m.; We remained at the bar until approximately 12:30 a.m.
4. Thereafter, we went to Four U 2B, a club in Cleveland; We remained there until closing time; 5. Ruel was with me from the mid-afternoon hours of November 16, 2002 until the early morning hours of November 17, 2002; 6. Detective Eugene Jones told my mother that if I testified on behalf of Ruel, “it would be really bad”; on two other occasions he has told me that if I help Ruel “things will be really bad for you”; 7. I interpreted this to mean that he would file unfounded criminal charges against me;
8. I learned of the incident the following morning when a friend advised me.
Nettles affidavit is attached as Exhibit 6. Nettles statement not only shows police misconduct in the handling of this case but provides substantive evidence that Sailor was present with Nettles until the close of the 4U2B and did not leave the bar with Hubbard.
I. Affidavit of Ronald Snipe
In September, 2014, Ronald Snipe, provided a statement regarding this case. His affidavit is attached as Exhibit 7. He swears in his affidavit that.
1. On November 16, 2002 I met up with Ruel Sailor, William Sizemore, and Cordell Hubbard; 2. We went to some clubs in the evening; When we left the club 4U2B I overheard Cordell in a heated argument with someone;
3. Cordell and Will were driving together;
4. Ruel was in his own vehicle;
5. I was likewise in my own vehicle. I was following Cordell and Will. I got stopped in traffic and I lost sight of them for a period of time.
6. I called the cell phone of Cordell. I was speaking with Will because I was trying to locate them.
7. I did not arrive at the murder scene until after the shooting. I called Cordell. He told me to get out of the neighborhood.
8. Cordell and Will were driving together the night of the murder.
Though Sailor informed his counsel that Mr. Snipe was present the night of the murder and may have important information pertaining to the murder, Snipe was never contacted by Sailor’s trial counsel. Snipe’s statement is consistent with Hubbard’s statement and testimony.
Sailor was convicted on the identification of only two eye witnesses. This is particularly compelling given that other witnesses were wholly unable to identify Sailor as being one of the two men present. Of the two who identified him in trial, Williams is particularly suspect given that he was unable to identify Sailor in the photo array or in an evidentiary hearing day before trial.
Sailor’s case went to trial barely a month after his indictment. The prosecutor presented no DNA evidence, no fingerprint evidence, no shoe print analysis, no blood splatter analysis, no recovered gun....no physical or forensic evidence whatsoever. Now, 13 years after the commission of this crime, Sailor remains in prison. His motions for post-conviction relief have been summarily dismissed. The court determined that Hubbard’s testimony was unreliable and any evidence gathered since that time is not new evidence because it merely corroborates the evidence included in Hubbard’s affidavit. It’s a snare, which prohibits serious consideration of new evidence without allowing the new evidence to support the affidavit which was unreliable. In light of the new affidavits, particularly by Umar Clark, Hubbard’s affidavit is not unreliable.
Additionally, Sailor’s claim has been denied consideration by organizations like the Innocence Project because it does not contain physical or scientific evidence. Where no physical or scientific evidence was gathered or presented to convict him, he cannot be expected to be able to refute that conviction on scientific evidence.
Accordingly, Sailor, by and through counsel, respectfully requests that this board accept his application for review and conduct a meaningful investigation into his claim of innocence.
Please sign this petition so that Ruel does not spend another day in prison for a crime that he did NOT commit!
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