Todd Mosser Appeals Lawyer Pennsylvania

India Spellman freed after judge dismisses 2013 murder conviction

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A 29-year-old woman is free to go home after her 2013 conviction was dismissed by a Philadelphia judge Thursday morning.

Judge Scott DiClaudio said former prosecutors didn’t turn over evidence to defense attorneys in the case against India Spellman, who was found guilty by a jury for the 2010 murder of 87-year-old World War II veteran George “Bud” Greaves.

Greaves was shot in the chest and died on the driveway of his West Oak Lane home. Spellman’s co-defendant, Von Combs, was 14 at the time of the murder and was convicted as a juvenile. Spellman was 17.

“It is a righteous day. Ms. Spellman is coming home,” said Spellman’s attorney Todd Mosser. “There are so many problems with this case. And we uncovered them all. And the District Attorney’s Office deserves credit. We took our case to them, they scrutinized the case, and here we are today.”

The evidence in question was statements made by an eyewitness who testified at Spellman’s trial, two and a half years after the crime. She had never before made a positive identification of Spellman, Mosser said, but when she was asked for the first time to identify the person she saw fleeing the crime, she pointed to Spellman.

“What the defense did not know, and what we’ve uncovered, is that, three weeks after the crime, this witness called the District Attorney’s Office and said, ‘I didn’t see anyone’s faces,'” Mosser said. “That was not turned over to the defense. And that testimony changes everything. It changes the light through which all the other evidence is reviewed.”

DiClaudio said he didn’t believe Spellman’s “alleged alibi” — that she was at home with her family, scrolling through Facebook — or her father, who testified on her behalf. He also didn’t believe Combs, who claimed Spellman was responsible.

Speaking after the ruling, Mosser said he respectfully disagreed with the judge’s dismissal of Spellman’s Facebook alibi.

“It is incomprehensible that someone can be on a phone at 3:10, run a 12-minute mile, shoot someone, turn around, run a 12-minute mile back, and get on a 25-minute conversation. That is incomprehensible,” he said.

Mosser said the Commonwealth, the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office were aware of a history of misconduct on the part of the detective on the case, but they didn’t disclose that to the court.

Despite any disagreements DiClaudio may have had, he said all evidence must be turned over, and that’s why he ruled Spellman should get a new trial.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said he will not retry her. So the end result is she is free to go home.

Speaking after judge’s ruling, Krasner held up a crumpled page that he said was a victim impact statement from Myrtle Ryan, George Greaves’ 95-year-old first cousin, which was supposed to have been presented to the court, but “for reasons I won’t dwell on, apparently it was crumpled up and dropped in that courtroom rather than read.”

Krasner read from the statement:

“I am Myrtle Ryan, the closest surviving relative of George Greaves. Our mothers were sisters, and he was like a brother to me. I was present at India’s trial in 2013, and have read accounts of the concerns over her conviction as well as been informed by my daughter, who has attended the recent hearings. …

“I am now convinced that India did not murder Bud.

“I am greatly saddened that she has become another victim of this incident through no fault of her own. I am requesting that you consider favorably the petitions before you to grant a new trial and declare her innocent.

“We are devastated knowing that Bud’s killer has never been apprehended, and that India has spent 12 years in prison for a crime she did not commit.

After the ruling, Spellman’s mother spoke to reporters.

“I’m grateful. I’m very grateful. I’m out of words right now. I’m just happy,” she said, calling the experience a learning lesson.

“This shouldn’t happen,” she said. “Let’s get it together. Come on.”

She said her daughter “wants to help other innocent women,” now that she is free. “A lot of people is waiting, and they don’t have networks,” she said.

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