Earl Patrick Charles
Earl Patrick Charles was sentenced to death in 1975 and was exonerated 1978
Earl Patrick Charles was sentenced to death for the murder of a furniture store owner and his son during a robbery in Chatham County, Georgia.
The key evidence against Mr. Charles was eyewitness testimony from a surviving witness who had failed initially to identify him in a photo spread.
The prosecution also presented an informant who claimed to have heard Mr. Charles confess to the killing.
While a motion for a new trial was pending, a reinvestigation by the prosecution discovered that a detective had coached both the eyewitness and the informant; the latter eventually admitted that he made up the story at the detective's behest. The prosecution joined in the motion for a new trial and, when it was granted, dropped the charges.
Mr. Charles received a $75,000 civil rights settlement for the detective's misconduct. Mr. Charles was black, the victims white.