D.C.

Men convicted in Fuller murder fight for new trial

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Six men, working to have a 1984 murder conviction overturned, will soon learn their fates.

The viscous beating death of 48-year-old Katherine Fuller still haunts the Northeast neighborhood where the crime occurred.

After the crime, investigators quickly rounded up members of a local gang called the 8th and H crew. Eight of them, then ages 17 to 21, were convicted of murdering Fuller.

One of the men served his full sentence, another died in prison, but the other six recently began a fight for new trials or to be released.

Attorneys with the Innocence Project claim officers coerced a confession using violence and intimidation they focused on Clifton Yarborough, who they say wasn't competent enough to confess. They claim Yarborough's confession contained many inconsistencies, including descriptions of events which did not happen.

The attorneys also allege that at the time of the trial, the prosecution failed to provide defense attorneys with evidence, specifically information that a man, now behind bars for attacking a woman, lived near the garage where Fuller's body was found and was placed at the scene by a witness.

Former U.S. Attorney Jody Goodman countered, "The prosecutors had done a very thorough and able job, and they had no attention of putting anyone behind bars that they didn't think was guilty."

The defense also maintains key witnesses have changed their testimony.

Goodman represented the government when the defendants argued for appeals.

'When witnesses change their story after the trial, whether it's one year or twenty five years, that our courts have said you have to look at that with the utmost suspicion," Goodman explained.

Closing  arguments will continue Tuesday, May 15.

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