News 07.22.15

Eyewitness Recants Identification of Andre Bryant, Putting His Conviction into Question

The Innocence Project of Florida has filed an updated motion based on newly discovered evidence, requesting that the court vacate Andre Bryant’s conviction and 30-year sentence for a 2006 armed robbery in Manatee County, Florida, reports the

Herald-Tribune.

The new motion highlights an eyewitness in the case who has recanted her identification of Bryant, which challenges the credibility of pivotal evidence in this case.

The

Herald-Tribune

writes that in 2006, Lori Cline was with her two children and her daughter’s friend, “T.R.,” at a Walgreens drive-thru when a man held a gun to her son’s head and demanded money from them. Bryant was arrested after he was spotted driving near the scene of the crime and sped away from police as they approached him, since he had an outstanding warrant on an unrelated case. The victims later identified Bryant as the perpetrator in a photo lineup and in court, even though he did not match many details in the initial description given to police; the only similarity between Bryant and the described perpetrator was that they both had dreadlocks. According to the

Herald-Tribune,

there was no physical evidence tying Bryant to the crime, and he was convicted solely based on the victims’ identification.  

The

Herald-Tribune

conducted their own investigation of the case and interviewed T.R. who said that she was never certain Bryant was the man who robbed them. T.R. told the

Herald-Tribune

that “she only picked him from the lineup after the other children told her they chose the man in the first photo.” The

Herald-Tribune

also spoke with T.R.’s mother who said that she herself had some doubts about her daughter’s identification of Bryant when they saw him outside of the courtroom before trial and T.R. told her he wasn’t the robber, but later pointed Bryant out as the robber in front of the jury.

T.R. has signed an affidavit officially recanting her identification of Bryant, which has also been signed by her mother. The new motion from the Innocence Project of Florida emphasizes the likelihood of a jury voting to acquit Bryant after hearing T.R.’s honest testimony, if Bryant is granted a new trial. The

Herald-Tribune

writes that Seth Miller, executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida, said: “We think it’s very clear — from our claims that we filed that based on the evidence that was presented at trial and the evidence that was not presented because of constitutional violations — that Andre Bryant is absolutely innocent of this crime.”

Read more about the case

here

.

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