A young man is framed for a murder and sentenced to death. A defense attorney does not question the prosecutor or police as to the disappearing evidence that could set a man free and doesn't challenge the description given of the shooter in court when his client clearly doesn't fit that description.

You don't have to be a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to have seen national news coverage of the six corrupt police officers from the 39th District who were convicted and sent to prison for the beatings and robberies and the frame-ups of hundreds of innocent black citizens-- even Sister Betty Patterson, a fiercely religious elderly Grandmother, who never had as much as a traffic ticket was a victim.

Countless lawsuits were filed against the city and its Police Department for violating the Civil Rights of its citizens and millions of dollars were awarded in out-of-court settlements. Cases for wrongful convictions were reopened and hundreds of innocent defendants were released from prison. In this climate of injustice it is not difficult to understand how a young, illiterate, poor, twenty four year old African American man ended up on Pennsylvania's Death Row.

In 1995, young Timothy Rice was awarded $85,000 in an out-of-court settlement from the city and the Philadelphia

Police Department after a cop pumped five bullets into him on the streets of Philadelphia. Then they lodged countless bogus charges against him-- (for which he was acquitted.) Three months later on September 1,1996, Mr. Rice was arrested for the shooting deaths of two men in a bar in Philly. He was arrested two hours after the murders. The police seized his clothes and checked his hands for gunpowder residue-they found none. On the night of this crime and when the memories of the eyewitnesses were most fresh they gave statements to the police identifying the shooter as a “bald man.” At trial they repeated this statement under oath that the culprit was “baldheaded.”

Police Officer Jesse Staten, Detective Fetters and Detective Pitt all testified that Timothy Rice had hair on his head on the night of arrest. “I wore a box style haircut,” Rice told this writer. Can a totally bald man grow a full head of hair in two hours? There was no testimony about a motive given for this senseless double murder nor did the prosecutor attempt to establish one. More egregious, Police Officer Charles Jackson, the brother of the victim Bernard Jackson, seized the clothes of his brother and another victim, Randall Rogers, and took it home for two days.

There was no authorization or official reason given for the brother of the victim, a police officer, to disappear for two days with a bullet, forensic evidence and bloody clothes essential to a murder investigation.

This evidence should have moved up the “chain of custody,” but every police procedure and official protocol was violated in this case. What did Officer Jackson do with this evidence that was in his possession? This evidence is tainted, compromised and therefore untrustworthy. The witnesses testified that Rice turned, moved in and shot one

of the victims at close range with a .357 Magnum, but in the autopsy report issued by Carolyn H. Revercomb, MD, she wrote, “No evidence of close range firing.”

A .357 Magnum produces a powerful explosion and gun residue, but there's not a single trace found anywhere on Mr. Rice. The bullet extracted from the body of victim Randall Rogers is conclusive proof that Tim Rice could not have committed this murder, but the bullet was withheld by the prosecution for well over a year.

Despite a flurry of defense motions the prosecutor refused to turn over exculpatory evidence. “I'm not going to turn over this bullet,” Mr. Fisher, the Assistant District Attorney told Rice's attorney, “It will help your case.” Why did Tim Rice's lawyer persuade him to forfeit his sixth amendment right to a trial by a jury of his peers and argue his case before a lone sitting judge? A Judge who sentenced him to death? “I told the lawyer I didn't do it,” Rice said, a pained expression etched into his young brown face. “The police set me up. I'm innocent.” So why did his lawyer put forth a tale about self defense? A fair-minded jury could have found a mountain of reasonable doubt to acquit him of this double murder. But young Timothy Rice never got that chance. Timothy would love to hear from anyone who reads his story. He appreciates letters. He would also like to write to ballistic experts who can assist him. Address correspondence to:

Timothy Rice DV2363
SCI Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, Pa 15370