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Why Prisoner Proven Innocent Can’t Be Released

Why Prisoner Proven Innocent Can’t Be Released

Picture this, you are 22 years old, in the
prime of your life, with a pregnant and devoted wife you haven’t been married to for very
long. And then everything changes one night when
a man is murdered in the street. You are accused of the murder, with the evidence
being that it was your face a witness saw running from the scene of the crime. That evidence is weak to say the least, and
seeing as you know very well you didn’t do it, you are confident you’ll get off. But that’s not the case, and you will spend
many years behind bars. A trial judge will say you are likely innocent
some twenty years after the crime was committed, and you still won’t get out. How could this happen? Let’s start from the beginning. The man we are talking about is named Benjamine
Spencer, and he was convicted along with another man of committing a murder on a quiet street
in West Dallas over 30 years ago. On March 22, in the year of 1987, a 33-year-old
named Jeffrey Young who was doing well for himself at a clothing company was attacked
after walking out of his company office around 9.30 pm. The police report says he was then manhandled
into his BMW by two men and drove over to West Dallas, and it’s there his body was
dumped down a dark alley. Police thought they had gotten lucky when
witnesses came forward and said they saw what happened. There were three of those witnesses, and they
identified two men. One was Spencer and the other was named Robert
Mitchell. But as the district attorney of Dallas now
says, something might have been amiss because the witnesses all knew Spencer. These people were not strangers. Spencer was by no means an angel. He’d spent some time behind bars before
for driving on a suspended license and had also been put on probation for six years for
driving a car that had been stolen by a friend. Nonetheless, as we said, his new wife was
pregnant and he was turning over a new leaf. After he was picked up four days after the
crime he wasn’t very worried. It was just a mistake, a case of mistaken
identity. But that wasn’t the case at all. Spencer had an alibi, too, which was the testimony
of a young woman friend of his who said she had been hanging out with him when the murder
and robbery took place. On top of that, there was no physical evidence
linking Spencer to the crime, just those witness testimonies. During the robbery a watch had been stolen,
as well as a wedding ring, a small portable TV, and a briefcase. None of these things were found at Spencer’s
house. Police didn’t have any fingerprint evidence
nor was there a murder weapon found. Many years later Spencer would say in an interview,
“I began to think, ‘Well, I didn’t commit this offence, the truth is going to come out.” But a few months down the line Spencer was
sentenced to 35 years in prison, with the evidence being the witness’ testimony as
well as a jailhouse informant’s testimony. It was a nightmare come true, Spencer’s
heart sank, his life was ruined. The father-to-be had become a condemned man,
and the state had failed to do its job in his eyes. But not long into his sentence Spencer got
a break. It turned out that the star witness in his
case had lied. She had not told the truth about whether she
had received a reward for coming forward and giving evidence. A new trial was set, but Spencer was then
offered a plea deal by the state. He could probably get out in five years if
he accepted this. But wasn’t this 5 years too much? And why would an innocent man taint his name
by admitting he killed someone when he hadn’t? In his mind he had been wronged, and accepting
a plea deal was just another wrong in the topsy-turvy world of American justice. Nonetheless, his attorney told him to take
it. Years alter Spencer would tell NPR, “He
was saying, ‘If you take it to trial, they’re going to try to give you a life sentence,
and they’re likely to get it. And I’m like, ‘I’m not going to plead guilty
to something I didn’t do.” Who in their right mind would? And so, he didn’t accept the deal. During the second trial the state prosecuted
Spencer for aggravated robbery and asked for a life sentence. The evidence again was a witness testimony,
with the star witness being a 42-year old woman who lived close to the alley where the
victim was dumped. It was her testimony that got Spencer convicted
again, and as you’ll find out soon, her testimony was hardly concrete. But she stood her ground, and according to
reports, was very convincing when she described what she had seen on the night of the crime. This was Spencer and Mitchell dumping the
body. Mitchell was also convicted again, and unfortunately
he would not live much longer anyway. So, now Spencer is back in prison again, looking
down a long road of 30-something years living life behind bars as an innocent man. His life now would be dedicated to proving
his innocence, and this would be a long process. Spencer got in touch with organizations that
helped wrongly convicted men who were serving time. One such organization was named Centurion
Ministries, and the people there knew that the state has sent down an innocent man. They built a case, interviewed over a hundred
people, and then asked for a hearing. This petition ended up on the desk of a criminal
court judge in Dallas named Rick Magnis. He said he wasn’t sure at first whether
to have a hearing, mostly because the exoneration wasn’t based on any kind of new DNA evidence. This is often what gets innocent people freed. But he later said in interviews that the more
he read about the case he realized there had been a lot of wrongs in Spencer’s conviction. Twenty years after the crime Magnis granted
an evidentiary hearing. The witnesses came forward again, and this
time two of them backed down. But that woman who lived across from the alley
didn’t, she stood firm again. She said she had definitely seen Spencer. As we said, there was a big problem with her
testimony. That’s because all those years later a forensic
visual scientist was asked to watch a reenactment of the body being dumped. What that was, was people in the dark pretending
to be the pair that dumped the body. After this, there was no doubt that this woman
could have seen anything other than a silhouette. No way could she have clearly seen a face
as she said she had done. That forensic scientist said with the conditions
as they were, a person could not have made out a face any farther than 25 feet away. But as it stood, the witness claiming to have
seen the men who was standing closest to the crime scene was 93 feet away. Again, just no way could have any of those
witnesses got a clear ID. With this new evidence Judge Magnis said ok
enough is enough, and he ordered a retrial on the grounds of something called “actual
innocence.” As for Spencer, he said he was over the moon
when he heard the news. Not only would he get out, but he would clear
his name, too. In an interview he said, “I was very hopeful. I thought that this is it. I’m going home.” That didn’t happen, though. Spencer said at first he was hopeful that
this retrial would take place within a few weeks. They passed, so then he thought maybe a few
months, and they passed. In fact, years passed and the only authority
capable of granting a new trial, the Court of Criminal Appeals, it seems did nothing
at all. Then in 2011. Spence got some bad news. There would be no retrial. While a judge said that indeed if the new
evidence had been presented at the first trial it would have been unlikely that Spencer would
have been convicted. But that same judge said because Spencer hadn’t
come up with any incontrovertible new evidence proving he wasn’t there that night, such
as CCTV footage or DNA that had never been tested, there would be no trial. The judge admitted that Spencer was likely
innocent, but it didn’t matter, he didn’t have the evidence to get that new trial. His attorney now says she needs to start again;
she needs to find this new evidence proving her client’s innocence. The problem of course is how do you find new
evidence 28 years after the fact. The woman across from the alley now won’t
talk openly about the case. Another witness died and another now says
he didn’t get a clear look at Spencer. This witness now says he felt pressured by
the police to say it was Spencer. So, that’s it. The only thing saying Spencer is guilty is
the testimony of a witness who its been proved couldn’t have possibly seen Spencer that
night. Everyone seems to know the case stinks, but
the fact is the justice system doesn’t seem to provide any solutions to get Spencer out. But there is more. There was another witness, but this witness
was never called. She now says that she is “1000 percent sure”
that the people she saw didn’t include Spencer. What about that jailhouse informant? Well, he now says that Spencer never told
him he had committed that crime. Records also show something very fishy. The informant said in court that he had not
received any benefit from giving that statement. But this guy was looking at a 25 year sentence
for aggravated robbery. Guess what happened after he spoke to police
and gave his testimony? He walked out of prison after just more than
a year. Another person has come forward saying he
knows who killed the man that night because it was a friend of his who did it. He admitted it to him. This man did not come forward at the time
because he didn’t want to rat on one of his friends. The man whose name was put forward is currently
serving time for robbery and assault. Investigators now say that police weren’t
going after Spencer, but they just had a case of what’s called “tunnel vision.” They had a theory, and they looked only at
the evidence that fit that theory. Anything else was ignored. Spencer now sits in his cell, a man in 50s
wearing glasses, waiting and hoping. But he doesn’t have too much hope left. In an interview he said, “I’m just at a
point where, I’m still hopeful, but at the same time, it’s like I’m stuck in a system.” His story has been written about extensively
in the American media, but it seems this man really is stuck in the system. He has been denied parole on each occasion
he was up for it, and from what we can see still waits in his cell to this day, waiting
in vain for something to help get him out of the web of American justice. What do you think about this story? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
Why Was This Prisoner Kept Locked Away In Permanent Total Isolation? Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

Reader Comments

  1. Based upon this video, sounds nothing les than a man being severely wronged and robbed of his precious time by a system that wants to put the weight of a case on a single witness and no further, tangible proof.

  2. Guilty until proven innocent… legal system is completely based around extortion and slavery to enrich the pockets of our masters … our forefathers would have heads rolling for what they fought and died for

  3. Lying witnesses should get the same amount of time the suspect was sentenced to, and if they were paid they should owe that amount of money they were paid to lie to the state.

  4. Can all people in the US reading this, call the Dallas court or a higher appeal court and inquire about this case? I assume if few hundred of few thousand people do, more pressure will be made, in which the case can be finally put an end. What do you think? Can you call and spend 5 min to help an innocent?

  5. Tell this story but about Curtis Flowers. He's been tried 6 times for the same crime and had his conviction overturned 6 times. He's up for his 7th and still in prison because Doug Evans refuses to accept that he is wrong.

  6. Ok I feel like I should throw this out there because of all of the people saying “what about innocent until proven guilty?” People please understand that when he was first brought to court he was Innocent and the burden of proof was on the prosecution to prove that he was guilty. The evidence (while faulty) was enough to convince a jury of his peers to convict him of the crime. (Making him guilty) so years down the road in his next trial the burden of proof was on HIM because he had already been found guilty of the crime.

  7. Scary.. such a twisted, crooked system, they do whatever they want to whoever they want whenever they want to do it. A prime example of why we need to unite to overcome these government gangsters called "police officers".. one day theyll go one step too far and 1776 will commence again.. fk the police.

  8. I think the system has to change. We are humans and make mistakes yet the system is made so absolute like we are always right. Not to mention there are people and even judges that make bad choices yet they have no consequences.

  9. Everyone upset and angry by this, calling for a protest…that’s great if you’re in Dallas. However for everyone else, start spamming tweeting to Texas politicians and legislators, district attorneys and although you may hate him Trump as well. Someone needs to either pardon this guy or get him his retrial.

  10. So in other words america operates on guilty until proven guilty, and even when your noy your guilty. Are we surprised?

  11. Judges and Prosecutors need to be held accountable for ALL OUTCOMES. And I say at the same level of sentence. That would make them the most Honest in the world. Also it scares me to know how many evil doers aren't being looked for. F#:d up on ALL LEVELS

  12. A trial is based on proven guilty beyond a doubt, so this totally was a mistrial. What is this, Phoenix Wright?

  13. What utter absolute horseshit. Imagine a whole system of people so spineless and lifeless that they literally don't care they've imprisoned an innocent man for decades and refuse to do anything about it. I think it would be just to actually break this person out of prison and every judge, every cop, every guard complicit in robbing this person's life be fired and jailed themselves for a time.

  14. I think the real killers is in the justice system they keep denying all evidence and patching it will all false evidence so the 2 killer that in the justice system can not be in jail… its my opinion with such great evidence that in this video…

  15. I just hate that u have to prove that you are innocent in the usa and not like in europe, the state has to prove that you arent and if they cant u cant be lockend down in a prison

  16. i feel like the lady across the road had something to do with it ( possibly a lookout ) since if she didn't know Ben then why would she lie about him

  17. This video obviously shows that the skills of justice are heavily tipped in one direction with the weight of innocent Patsy’s behind bars!

  18. Alexa, This American Justice System Is So Sad.
    Play Reminiscense ~ Steel Samurai's Ballad

    (Ace Attorney Referance)

  19. This is the true definition of " BLACK MAIL " regardless of the evidence or crime. You are going to be treated by the so called justice system like a " BLACK MALE ". 🇺🇸🗽

  20. Literally all Judges in this video: we have no proof that you commited the crime… BUT WE HAVE NO PROOF THAT YOU ARE INNOCENT SO BECAUSE WE DONT HAVE ANY INFO YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL

  21. Lying lady: I saw him 93 feet away
    Scientists: welp his innocent
    US justice system: No we will keep him
    Guy: It was actually my friend
    US justice system : NO WE WILL KEEP HIM
    US justice system : lemme think

  22. A conviction solely based on witness testimonies? This shouldn't be possible in the first place. What significance does this second witness even have, anyone could claim having seen him after his first conviction. I could look at some pictures of the sentenced man and then write a breathtaking story about the night I saw the criminal dumping the corpse.

  23. So the system is like : i will convict anyone so you innocent man your guilty.

    Me after watching the video: um you know what’s sad he didn’t see his child grow up and all the witnesses lied and he was put in jail how dumb is that😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡 poor guy😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😭😭😭😭😭 I feel like he should be free and I hate the old woman who definitely lied she should be in jail instead of him and there is no evidence that he did the crime
    So the system is like guilty till proven innocent.

  24. Judge:*has no real proof of Spencer doing the crime* 30 Years in prison!

    30 years later

    Man: So um… yeah it was my friend who killed the man.

    Judge: Ok, we will get him and keep the innocent man too just for the fun of it.

  25. This is a guilty until proven innocent situation. The burden of prove appears to be on the suspect not the authorities.

  26. USA fights hard brutal war against Britain for freedom and wins! Another brutal civil war against slavery and wins! Another brutal war against nazis to liberate the world from oppression and wins! Stops dictator of North Korea at the half way point and preserves south Korea…and all for what? For this bullsh$t?

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