CRIME

New evidence questions sentences in Fuller murder

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Startling new information has emerged on a high-profile local murder case. Eight men were convicted in the rape and murder of a woman in broad daylight. New information may show they are innocent.

Barbra Wade is recalling how her sister Catherine Fuller was murdered almost three decades ago.

"They didn't have to go that far. You don't brutalize somebody, and that's what they did to her,” Wade said.

Fuller was walking to the store to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor when she was grabbed at the corner of 8th and H Streets Northeast and taken into an alley where she was beaten, raped and sodomized with a metal pipe.

Seventeen people were arrested in what was described as one of the most brutal gang crimes of the time.

"It made the average citizen feel completely unsafe in their own neighborhoods,” said Lillian McKewen, one of the suspect’s attorneys.

Of the eight men who were convicted, six are still in jail. They will be back in a D.C. courtroom later this year. But new evidence could prove they didn't commit the crime. DNA that couldn’t be tested three decades ago is in a lab.

Two other men may have committed the murder. Four of the witness who testified 27 years ago now say they lied. In sworn affidavits the witnesses say police and prosecutors forced them to lie, threatening them with stiff jail sentences if they refused.

There's evidence the police knew about two men who were seen leaving the murder scene. One of those men was later convicted of killing a witness to the Fuller murder, but prosecutors never told the defendants.

Levi Rouse was one of the men convicted. He said the jury verdict 27 years ago made him feel like his life was over.

Fuller’s sister Wade she's sure the right men are behind bars.

Some of the defense lawyers in the original case have gone on to have very successful careers. Lilian McKewen a former administrative law judge, just wrote a book about her relationship with Justice Clarence Thomas, and Greta van Susteren is a Fox Network host. A superior court judge will hear the evidence in November.

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