Fred Thomas Burial Fund
Contributions can be mailed
to the Defender Association, Federal Court Division, Suite 545 West, Curtis
Building, Independence Square West, Philadelphia, PA 19106 C/O James Moreno.
Make all checks out to Mildred Thomas (Fred's sister).
|News about Fred Thomas|
|Pretrial and Court Transcripts|
Order In Question/Scope
& Standard of Review/Statement
of Jurisdiction & Questions Involved
|Statement Of The Case / Summary Of Argument|
|The Argument From the Brief For Appellant|
From Court Of Common Pleas
- J. Stouts Opinion
- (The court tries to justify this conviction)
THE EASIEST ROAD .
. . DEATH
© 1999 Mumia Abu-Jamal writing on the Fred Thomas case (10/23/99)
DANISH LANGUAGE PAGE
Information on Fred's case in Danish, thanks to Fred's supporters in Denmark for this page.
Subject: Innocent Man Dies on PA Death Row
With great sadness, we have
learned that Fred Thomas -- an innocent man who had been framed for the
Christmas Eve 1993 murder of federal express driver William Moyer -- died
at 6:00 a.m. this morning. He was taken to the Montgomery Hospital
Medical Center on October 3 after being found comatose in his death row cell
at Graterford prison. The preliminary indication is that Fred died
of toxic metabolic encephalopathy -- essentially his liver shutting down.
This was the long-term result of end-stage liver disease, diabetes, and a host of related medical conditions from which he suffered during his more than seven years on death row.
Fred's hope was to stay alive
long enough to be vindicated for his wrongful conviction and death sentence.
He got part of his wish, living long enough to see his conviction and death
overturned for prosecutorial and police misconduct that had denied him a fair trial.
Fred's heart had stopped
last December, and he was brought back to life with a defibrulater.
Severely weakened, he struggled through a two-week evidentiary hearing in
February. Although Fred was able to
attend the evidentiary hearing, he was in constant, excruciating pain throughout, was barely able to walk the five yards from counsel table to the lock-up. He was so weak that he had difficulty holding his
head up during the testimony. Fred's degenerating condition was so visible that court personnel provided Fred with a different chair and a pillow to ease his physical discomfort while in court.
On May 31, 2002, after presiding
over the evidentiary hearing, reviewing the trial record (including the
absence of any physical evidence connecting Fred to this crime), and considering
submissions by both the Commonwealth and Fred, Judge Willis W. Berry granted Fred a new trial. In granting relief, Judge Berry found that, as a result of prosecutorial and police misconduct, Fred did not "get a fair trial." NT 5/31/02 at 12. Judge Berry stated from the bench:
"[I]f the jury knew what I knew about the case, and knew what I knew about [Officer] Ryan or what everybody knows now, no way, in my opinion, would they not find a reasonable doubt in this case."
NT 5/31/02 at 16.
Although they knew he was
dying and would probably not be healthy enough to withstand a retrial, the
Philadelphia District Attorney's office nonetheless decided to appeal the
grant of relief and took
steps that dragged out the appeal process. This effectively ended any hope that Fred would be able to obtain hospice care in the final months of his life. On the day of the decision, the District Attorney's office issued a press release and spoke with both television and print media to denounce the decision and to "vow to appeal." Yet, aware of Fred's condition, the prosecution waited until the afternoon of July 1, 2002 -- the final hours of the final day on which it could appeal -- to file its three-page notice of appeal, and opposed Fred's motion to expedite the appeal process.
Judge Berry's mention of
"Ryan" refers to James Ryan, a former Philadelphia police officer who was
later convicted and imprisoned for numerous federal offenses related to official
corruption and his abuse of power as a police officer in other cases.
The evidence presented in the PCRA hearings established Ryan's central role
in this case. The hearing disclosed evidence that Ryan had threatened a defense
witness, Maria Fielding, that if she testified in court on Fred's behalf that the City would take away her children. NT 2/26/02 at 126-30; N.T. 5/31/02 at 9. Ms. Fielding had provided police a contemporaneous eyewitness statement identifying who shot Mr. Moyer. Fred was NOT among the persons involved.
In addition, the court found
that prosecutor Roger King had misinformed the trial court and defense counsel
that the prosecution supposedly was attempting to secure Ms. Fielding's attendance
trial. While Mr. King told the Court that his office had lodged the two bench warrants issued to produce Ms. Fielding [including a "judge only" warrant that specifically directed the Commonwealth to serve
her forthwith and bring her before the Court] and had "redoubled" its "efforts" to locate Fielding, N.T. 2/23/95 at 27, the pretrial services records contained no entry whatsoever that the prosecution
had ever lodged any such warrant. PCRA Exhibit 42. And while the prosecution told the Court that it believed Ms. Fielding had left the area, N.T. 2/23/95 at 27, it turns out that Ms. Fielding was actually
in police custody at the time. PCRA Exhibit D-43.
The evidence presented in
the PCRA hearing also showed that the eyewitness testimony by two neighborhood
drunks against Fred had been fabricated; that these witnesses had received
compensation for their cooperation with the prosecution, including meal money, hotel accomodations, and, later, government-subsidized housing. Both men recanted their testimony. One died before the evidentiary hearing; the other admitted on the witness stand that his testimony implicating Fred was false. At the PCRA hearing, we also presented another eyewitness to the shooting who testified that Fred was not involved. Apart from the false, fabricated, and now recanted testimony, there is not -- and has never been -- any evidence linking Fred to the crime.
An innocent man has died
on our death row. His wrongful conviction was not innocently obtained.
Who among us can believe for even an instant that justice has been served
IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT FRED THOMAS' CONDITION
CCADP is saddened to report that Fred is terminally ill with END
STAGE LIVER DISEASE.
The only thing that would save him at this point would be a liver transplant, which is unlikely under present circumstances.
His family and other concerned individuals and activists are fighting to get Fred transferred from Death Row to a Hospice where he can be treated humanely.
His sister reports: "We are having a demonstration on January 10 ,2002 everyone who can please come out and join us" The demo will be in Philadelphia, more information to come,
please email Fred's sister Mildred for more info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to
encourage Fred's friends and penpals and other concerned individuals to send
him a GET WELL card to let him know that we are thinking
of him and supporting him. This will brighten Fred's day and it will also show the adminstration that Fred is not alone in his struggle and that people are aware and concerned that he receive proper medical treatment.
that due to his illness and frequent hospitalizations,
Fred may not be able to respond to all mail in a timely manner but all
mail and cards will be much appreciated and are sure to lift his spirits !
IF YOU HAVE RECENTLY WRITTEN FRED AT THE SCI GREENE, WAYNESBURG
HE HAS PROBABLY NOT RECIEVED YOUR MAIL.
PLEASE RESEND CORRESPONDENCE AND GET WELL CARDS TO THE ADDRESS
Fred's new address:
Fred Thomas # CW9865
P.O. Box 244
FROM FRED'S SISTER MILDRED THOMAS, Dec 28, 2001:
"Please let everyone know that Fred will certainly appreciate any mail he receives
even though he may not answer in a timely manner. His health is very poor at this time,
Fred has been diagnosed as terminally ill with End Stage Liver Disease.
We [family, friends and activists] are working, trying to get Fred released to a
Hospice where he can receive Humane treatment , needless to say, that is not
what he getting at this time. Also we will appreciate any support we can get in
writing to some key people who can help in making decisions that affects the
care and treatment Fred is receiving. I'm including some names and addresses
that I have,but if anyone know of someone else that I should write please let me know."
(See below.) - Mildred Thomas
P.O. Box 8837
Camp Hill PA.
Commissioner William Love
P.O. Box 8837
Camp Hill PA.
Donald T. Vaughn
P.O. Box 246
P.O. Box 8837
Camp Hill PA.
are having a demonstration on January 10,2002
Everyone who can please come out and join us.
Contact Fred's sister Mildred Thomas at: email@example.com
Thomas is an innocent man on death row in Pennsylvania.
Another victim of Philadelphia prosecutor Roger King, notorious
for a number of wrongful convictions with the local Keystone cops.
with death penalty opponents, religious leaders, concerned citizens and
the family of Fred Thomas in exposing the tactics of the Philadelphia District
Attorney's Office. Fred Thomas is a terminally ill death row inmate with
claims of innocence. Instead of allowing him to present his claims
in a court of law, the office of Lynne Abraham is engaging in stalling tactics,
clearly hoping Fred will die before being able to present his evidence. We will be demanding the following:
Fred Thomas receive proper and adequate medical treatment for his heath
and that he be housed in humanitarian conditions.
Fred Thomas be permitted to have his day in court, and that the Philadelphia
Attorney's office ceases its stalling tactics.
* Fred Thomas' claims of innocence be thoroughly investigated and considered.
* An immediate moratorium on executions in Pennsylvania.
JOIN WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND CONCERNED CITIZENS,
IN DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR FRED THOMAS
and on Pennsylvania's death row for nearly 7 years, time is rapidly running
out for Fred Thomas. Now is the time for people of conscience to demand justice!
We demand that Fred Thomas receive proper and adequate medical treatment
health problems, and that he be housed in humanitarian conditions. Fred is terminally ill, suffering from end-stage liver disease, runaway diabetes, and numerous other serious conditions. Often his symptoms - swelling throughout his body, ongoing bleeding, and
extreme pain, were allowed to reach critical heights before the prison would seek outside professional medical care. His diet has not complied with numerous hospital recommendations, and he has gone into insulin shock on at least three occasions.
The conditions under which he is being held are unacceptable; he is in 24 hour per day isolation in a prison infirmary cell with nothing in his cell except for bedding.
His requests for permission to have a television or radio to alleviate the isolation
have been denied.
We demand that Fred Thomas be permitted to "have his day in court," and
that the Philadelphia D.A.'s office cease its "stalling tactics." Fred's
attorneys have utilized proper
legal avenues to request an expedited hearing schedule, citing his rapidly declining health.
Since learning that Fred is dying, the D.A.'s office has conveniently developed a number of
virtually unprecedented arguments in order to request lengthy extensions and continuances. The net effect of these "stalling tactics" is to ensure that Fred will die before he can present
the evidence necessary to support his claim of innocence. If they succeed in this effort, the alleged improprieties in his trial & sentencing hearings will not be aired in open court prior
to his death. He will die, having been denied even the opportunity to present his claims.
We demand that Fred Thomas' claims of innocence be thoroughly investigated
and considered. Fred's conviction took place in the absence of any
physical evidence connecting him to the crime. Witnesses gave initial
statements to the police identifying others as the perpetrators. There
were numerous clear indications that the murder was drug related, and not
the "robbery turned murder" scenario which the prosecution used to turn the
focus on Fred. The two witnesses used by the prosecution to implicate
Fred were brought forward
by a police officer later imprisoned for misconduct. Consider these claims which are being raised in Fred's appeals:
* No murder weapon or proceeds were ever recovered from Fred at the time of the murder.
* An opened package found in the Fed-Ex delivery truck after the murder was sent from Puerto Rico to an address in the neighborhood under a fictitious name. The residents of the home the package was addressed to did not know the addressee, and the police never found that individual. The package was valued at $100 at the time of shipment, yet the only contents at the time the police arrived were foreign newspapers. It is highly unlikely and implausible that any individual would insure newspapers in the amount of $100; there is no question that the perpetrators took the contents at the time of the murder. All of these factors indicate the sender and receiver addresses were fabricated in order to facilitate a drug shipment. Additionally, the victim had both cocaine and methamphetamines in his system at the time of death. Police were informed shortly after the murder that the victim was stealing drugs from packages sent to that area,and that he had recently "ripped off" a kilo of cocaine.
The police officer who brought the prosecution's "star witnesses" - the
only witnesses tying Fred to the murder - was former police officer James
Ryan. Ryan and his partner, members of the Highway Patrol Division,
independently determined to go to the area of the shooting, locate two men
- William "Greenie" Green and Charles "Countrie" Rowe, and transport them
to the police station for questioning. Police failed to properly and
completely investigate other leads available to them at the time of the murder
because Ryan offered up these two alleged witnesses to the homicide division
to set Fred up as the "patsie" and divert attention away from the actual
murderers - known drug dealers in the neighborhood who had the means, motive,
and opportunity to commit the murder. On May 30, 1995 - only 4 weeks
after Fred was sentenced to death - James Ryan pled guilty to misconduct
and illegal activity in instances from February 1988 to March 1990 including:
entering and searching premises without probable cause; conducting armed
illegal detentions; stealing money and property; falsifying police reports,
affidavits of probable cause for arrest warrants and search warrants; engaging
in illegal stops and searches that were outside of his assigned district
and were never
documented in official police paperwork; and, preparing police reports "after
the fact" which contained "material falsehoods" with respect to the
* Neither Green nor Rowe claimed to see Fred commit the murder.
* A witness to the murder, Maria Fielding, gave a description to the police of the two men she claimed to see commit the murder. Her description was consistent with two individuals known to deal drugs in the vicinity. Officer Ryan, now a convicted felon, attempted to coerce Fielding to identify Fred as the murderer and made the threat that her children could be taken from her if she testified on Fred's behalf. Following the threat, Fielding did not testify.
4. We demand that there be an immediate moratorium on executions.
For more information Contact:
PA Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty
PO Box 58128
Phone: (215) 724-6120
"THE EPITOME OF PHILADELPHIA," - POLICE CORRUPTION
FREDERICK A. THOMAS, THE PRODUCT OF THE ON GOING INJURIOUS, LIBELOUS, DEGRADING ACTS DONE BY THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT (DUBBED; PHILLIES FINEST). SPEARHEADED OR AS I SHOULD SAY DEBAUCHED BY LYNN ABRAHAM WHO METES OUT HER CRONIES ACROSS THE CITY TO SUSTAIN HER CONVICTION RATE THROUGH, THATS BECAUSE MOST OF THEIR ADVENTURES START OFF INFORMAL, BUT ANYWAY THROUGH DIABOLICAL, UNETHICAL ARTERIES.
FREDERICK THOMAS, 53, AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN AS "POPPY" HAS BEEN HORRENDOUSLY SITTING ON PENNSYLVANIA'S DEATH ROW NOW FOR THE BETTER PART OF THREE YEARS AND A HALF. PART OF THE IRONY OF THIS SEEMINGLY NEVER ENDING "EPOCH", BECAUSE THIS PARTICULAR PERIOD WILL INEVITABLY BE HISTORY AND NOTEWORTHY, IS THAT THE SAME DAY THAT MR.THOMAS WAS SO GRIEVOUSLY CONVICTED, THE SAME OFFICERS WHO ARRESTED HIM (WHO WERE ALSO THE COMMONWEALTH'S LEAD WITNESSES) WERE INDICTED ON SEVERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES INCLUDING CORRUPTION, INTIMIDATING WITNESSES, WITNESS COERCION, TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE, ETC. NOW ISN'T THAT IRONIC, BUT LETS CONTINUE ON, THESE SAME ARRESTING OFFICERS WHO COULD NOT HAVE HEARD OF THESE CORRUPTIONS, THEY'RE A COMMON HOUSEHOLD NAME IN PHILADELPHIA, "THE 39th POLICE DISTRICT".
· LEST REASONABLE DOUBT FOR ANY JURY, THE AFOREMENTIONED, EXPLICITLY THE (PROSECUTION WITNESS TURNED DEFENSE WITNESS) WOULD HAVE TESTIFIED AS TO THE ACTUAL PERPETRATORS OF THIS CRIME,BUT DUE TO COMMONWEALTH'S WITNESSES AGAIN (THE ARRESTING OFFICERS) UNWILLINGNESS TO DISCLOSE THE WHEREABOUTS OF THIS IMPORTANT DEFENSE WITNESS, THIS KANGAROO COURT TRIAL PROCEEDED WITH MALICE TO PARTICIPATE IN OBTAINING VIOLATING PRINCIPLES TO CONVICT MR.THOMAS, (THE EPITOME OF PHILADELPHIA POLICE CORRUPTION)!
MR.THOMAS HAS ENOUGH REASONABLE DOUBT TO SINK THE TITANIC. THIS CASE WAS FIRST TRIED IN OCTOBER OF 19?4, AND RESULTED IN A HUNG JURY. THE TWO "SO CALLED" WITNESS' IN WHICH WITHOUT THEIR TESTIMONY THERE NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ANY CASE AGAINST MR.THOMAS, WERE LOCATED SUBORNED AND DEEMED WITNESSES BY OF COURSE, THE SAME PROSECUTION WITNESS, (THE ARRESTING OFFICERS). DURING MR.THOMAS' FIRST TRIAL DURING A BREAK. ONE OF THE OFFICERS IN QUESTION INDICATED TO MR.THOMAS' ATTORNEY THAT HE IN FACT KNEW THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE MISSING DEFENSE WITNESS (EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE OUTSTANDING BENCH WARRANTS ON THE WITNESS BEFORE TRIAL AND TO IT'S PRESENT OCCURENCE). JUST BY THE CRIMES AND CHARGES THAT THESE OFFICERS HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY AND CONVICTED OF, LEST PRESUMPTION OF MR.THOMAS INNOCENCE, IN LIGHT OF THE TRANSPIRED FACT, THE POSSIBILITY STRONGLY EXISTS THAT THE SAME TACTICS WERE USED ON MR.THOMAS AND CULMINATED HIS CONVICTION AND DEATH SENTENCE, AND THEREFORE BY THESE PROVEN FACTS BY LAW, , THIS CON TITUTES RELIEF AND ALL THAT ENCOMPASSES.
DOES NOT HAVE THE DEFENSE FUNDS NEEDED AND
NONE OF THE STATED FACTS WERE ARGUED OR PRESENTED IN HIS DIRECT APPEAL TO THE STATE SUPREME COURT, SO MR.THOMAS ASK'S AND ENCOURAGES THOSE WHO MAY BE ABLE TO HELP OR CONTRIBUTE FUNDS TO HIS DEFENSE TO DO SO.
Fred's family needs your help to save Fred's life:
The Fred Thomas Defense fund
Suntrust bank, central Florida
PO Box 628096
32897 - 0665
PHILADELPHIA NOTORIOUS FOR RACISM IN DEATH PENALTY CASES
Officer Ryans is now in prison for his corruption
in the 39 District Police Department!
He was off his beat and was one of the first officers to arrive
on the scene where Fred Thomas was charged.
the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"A federal grand jury indicts John Baird, Thomas DeGovanni, Steven Brown, JAMES RYAN, and Thomas Ryan (no relation). They are charged with planting drugs on suspects, stealing more than 100,000 in cash and property, and falsifying reports. They and a sixth former officer, later plead guilty." - September 5, 1996
"Frederick A Thomas has been sentenced to death in the December 21, 1993 murder of Federal Express driver William "Skip" Moyer. Former officer James Ryan, who pleaded guilty this year to corruption charges, helped produce the only two eyewitnesses for the prosecution. " September 21, 1995
Fred's interested in corresponding with pen-pals, and he would greatly
appreciate your letters of encouragement and support at this time !
The CCADP offers free webpages to over 500 Death Row Prisoners
Contact us for more information.
"The Eyes Of The World Are Watching Now"