Murder conviction of man who spent 12 years in jail overturned – because key witness was legally blind


The murder conviction of a Chicago man who has spent 12 years behind bars has been overturned – because a key eyewitness was legally blind.

Darien Harris, 30, was found guilty after a 2011 shooting left 23-year-old Rondell Moore dead and another person seriously injured.

Harris, who is black, was 18 at the time and has always maintained his innocence.

He will now face a new trial, his lawyer says, after his conviction was vacated.

“Mr Harris has spent 12 years wrongfully imprisoned, having been arrested when he was just 18,” the Exoneration Project said.

“His conviction was secured almost solely through the testimony of a blind eyewitness, who the court repeatedly referred to as credible when wrongfully convicting Mr Harris.

“We look forward to continuing to fight for his freedom.”

The witness was allegedly suffering from advanced glaucoma at the time of the crime, the organisation said.

He had severely limited visibility, and surveillance video from the scene revealed that he was much further away than he initially claimed to be, it added.

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Several years ago, Harris’ family and legal team had urged Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to look at the case, arguing the witness had allegedly failed to disclose that he was legally blind, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Mr Moore, the victim, had pulled into a local gas station to look at his vehicle when he was shot three times.

He ran from the gas station and died in a nearby parking lot.

A local mechanic who was helping Mr Moore was also injured in the shooting.

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