Washington, DC, October 23, 2014 - The D.C. Court of Appeals today reversed the convictions of Gary Gathers and Keith Mitchell, who have been in prison for more than 20 years. Mr. Gathers and Mr. Mitchell were convicted of first degree murder in 1993. Each was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.
The Court found that the government violated the Constitution by introducing and exploiting false testimony from a Metropolitan Police Department detective. In the course of establishing the government’s constitutional violations, Mr. Gathers and Mr. Mitchell introduced substantial evidence of their own innocence, including a corroborated recantation of the testimony of the government’s lone eyewitness and testimony and documents showing that other men—not Mr. Gathers or Mr. Mitchell—had the motive and intent to kill the victim.
Mr. Gathers is represented by Seth Rosenthal of Venable LLP, Matthew Beville of WilmerHale LLP, and Thomas Degonia of Ethridge Quinn Kemp McAuliffe Rowan & Hartinger. Mr. Mitchell is represented by Amit P. Mehta of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. The team partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project on the case.
Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project Executive Director Shawn Ambrust said, “We are pleased that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has corrected an injustice inflicted on two men who have spent more than 20 years in prison because of false evidence. We hope this is the first step toward vindication for Mr. Gathers and Mr. Mitchell, who have all along maintained their innocence.”
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The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to correcting and preventing the convictions of innocent people in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.