Exonerate Eric Riddick

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We are three undergraduate students at Georgetown University working with Georgetown's Prisons and Justice Initiative and the Igwe Firm on this case. We are also working alongside Eric's family and legal team with the goal of exonerating him after he has served over 27 years for a crime that he did not commit. Please sign this petition to help us pressure Philadelphia's District Attorney Larry Krasner to give Eric the justice he deserves! If you would like to reach out to us, please email justiceforeriddick@gmail.com. 

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Eric Riddick was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 after he was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder, despite there being no physical evidence connecting him to the crime. His conviction was solely based on a single eyewitness testimony, which was first recanted in 1999. Since then, the key witness has signed multiple affidavits that Eric was not connected to the crime. Additionally, multiple individuals have come forward confirming that Eric did not shoot William Catlett, but an individual named "P-Nut" did. At the time of the shooting, Eric was with three friends two blocks away.

Ineffective Counsel

Three friends that were with Eric at the time of the shooting were listed as alibi witnesses but were never called to testify by Eric's court appointed defense lawyer.


Witness Testimony

The lone witness in the case recanted his statement in a July 1999 affidavit. In the affidavit, the lone witness wrote that he only identified Riddick as the shooter because he was pressured to do so by a friend of Catlett’s. However, Riddick’s Post Conviction Relief Act petition, filed in March 2003, was denied as untimely. Once again, Riddick was denied freedom due to legal technicalities. However, in the past 27 years, numerous new witnesses have come forward with testimonies providing evidence confirming that Eric Riddick was not the shooter of William Catlett.


Ballistic Testimony

Ballistic evidence contradicts the key witness’s testimony. Ballistic evidence proves that the bullets entered Catlett’s body at an upward angle. However, the key witness claimed Eric shot William Catlett from an elevated fire escape. For context, if Eric had shot Catlett from an elevated fire escape, the bullet would have entered his body at a downwards trajectory. Therefore, it is scientifically impossible for Eric to have been the shooter. Additionally, two different bullet types were found in Catlett’s body, both .22 and .32 caliber bullets. This fact proves that there were two shooters involved, further disproving the key witnesses testimony.


Appeals and the Post-Conviction Relief Act

Eric has appealed multiple times with the above overwhelming amount of evidence proving his innocence. However, Riddick remains in jail as a result of legal technicalities, namely the Post-Conviction Relief Act, or PCRA. The PCRA says that “new” evidence must be submitted to court within a 1-year timeframe, originally 60 days. Riddick’s incarceration is so unfathomable, that in December 2016, Superior Court Judge John Bender wrote: “It is clear to all that it is likely that an innocent man sits behind bars for no better reason than a poorly conceived statute.”


More Information

If you would like to learn more information about Eric Riddick’s case, Meek Mill, rapper and friend of Eric Riddick’s, brought his case to NBC News’ Lester Holt. Additional interviews, articles and television features can be found below. You can find the website advocating for Eric Riddick's innocence created by his family here.


NBC News with Lester Holt, “In Prison for 26 years, Eric Riddick says he did not kill his friend.”

Philadelphia Tribune, “Councilman seeks gubernatorial pardon in 1991 fatal shooting”

WHYY, “Black Lives Matter, family press Philly DA to release inmate they say is innocent”

Philly Inquirer, “Philly man claims he's innocent of 1991 killing. Courts say it's too late”

 

 

 


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