Florida Clears Two Men After 42 Years In Prison For A Crime They Didn’t Commit
Clifford Williams, Jr was 34 and his nephew, Hurbert Nathan Myers, was 18 back in May 1976 when they were arrested.
Williams and Myers were at a party in Jacksonville, FL when two women were shot in a nearby apartment, one of them being fatally injured. Both men were quickly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.
On Thursday March 28th, the state threw away their convictions and let them free. According to WFOX, Williams and Myers shook hands and hugged one another before emotionally joining family members gathered in the courtroom.
” I’m nervous because I feel like I’m still locked up. Once I get with my family and know I can look back… and the reality hits in, I think I’ll be all right.” said Myers
No defense witnesses or evidence was found. The woman who survived the shooting told the police that Williams and Myers emptied their guns from the foot of the bed she had shared with the murdered woman. The evidence they had indicated that the shots were fired outside and was from the same gun.
After a two-day trial, both men were convicted of murder and attempted murder. Their attorneys presented no evidence or witnesses, although partygoers reported being with the men when everyone heard the shots that night.
The two men maintained their innocence throughout the trial and the 42 years they spend in prison. Prosecutors say both men filed multiple motions for “postconviction relief”
A change came about in 2017 when the state attorney created the Conviction Integrity Review unit which both men petitioned for. They found out that another man had reportedly confessed to committing the murder and felt guilty that Williams and Myers were imprisoned for it. The Conviction Integrity Review investigation report stated that the man died back in 1994.
According to a press release from State Attorney Melissa W. Nelson, it was determined that “it no longer has confidence in the integrity of the convictions.” Judge Angela Cox vacated their convictions and the state dismissed their indictments.
Williams, now 76, and Myers, 61 were wrongfully convicted of the murder of Jeanette Williams (no relation) and the attempted murder if Nina Marshall. Marshall passed away in 2001.