William Lanier's Exoneration or Sentence Commutation.

William Lanier's Exoneration or Sentence Commutation.

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Brenda Colbert started this petition to Governor Bill Lee

William Lanier is serving a life sentence for the death of Tommie Reed in a case where there was no physical evidence or eyewitnesses to tie him to Reed's death. He has been incarcerated for 12 years and always maintained his innocence.

Despite alibi evidence, withheld/fabricated evidence/witnesses (on behalf of the State) and inadequate representation, the State has repeatedly denied a new trial, refused to allow a jury to consider or review relevant 3rd party guilt or alibi evidence that existed prior to trial but was never investigated or presented to the jury.

Although he has proven the above to the courts, he remains incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit.

                   Evidence and Facts

Tommie Reed was found in his car on Saturday, December 22, 2007 (12:22a.m.). The State's theory was that he was an informant to the  Memphis Police Dept. and caused several of his friends to be arrested.

On the night of Reed's death Lanier was working with Nathaniel Carter (retired Memphis Police Officer and retired US Veteran). Mr. Carter was a free lance photographer who took photos at night clubs for patrons. Mr. Carter was sick and dying from cancer which caused his leg to be amputated. Mr. Carter was interviewed and gave an alibi to Lanier's whereabouts at the time of Reed's death. Instead of securing his statement via video or in court deposition defense counsel pursued plea deals. Mr. Carter died six and one half months after he corroborated Lanier's alibi. Mr. Carter even requested he be investigated a second time so that he could provide additional witnesses, locations, etc. Mr. Carter was never interviewed again. Alibi defense wasn't raised at trial. 

Although the state was aware of Mr. Carter's death it used the lack of an alibi witness as guilt against Lanier. 

Lanier was convicted solely off unreliable hearsay testimony from state's witness Sierra Storne's (son's mother) who admitted that she'd lied about his involvement because he cheated with and impregnated her friend. Despite Stornes giving  her initial statement approx. 4 months after Reed's death. 

There were several acts of violence committed by and against Reed prior to his death, as well. Two weeks before he was killed Christopher Criswell shot 7 rounds into the driver side of Reed's car. This fact wasn't properly presented at trial.

Reed and Roderick Neal had continuously shot at each other days before his death. (police reports are on file). Neal even told Reed's father he would kill Reed when he saw him. Reed was killed days later. This fact was never mentioned at trial.

Minutes before his death,told Reed told two unrelated women he was with Johnathan Hobson. This fact was never mentioned at trial. 

The state has committed several underhanded acts during this case: fabricated witnesses, knowingly presented false testimony, committed intentional delays in hopes that alibi witness would die, in which he did, and fabricated the existence of telephone records (after 9 years finally admitted they did not exist), withheld fingerprints (that did not match Lanier but it claimed it could not find a match) and have refused to hear relevant 3rd party evidence. 

We believe it is a travesty of Justice to deny Lanier the chance to present the above evidence to a jury. We demand that Lanier's life sentence be rescinded, sentence be commuted or he be granted a new trial where the evidence of his innocence/alibi and all the 3rd party proof be presented to a jury for proper and sound consideration. 


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