Saturday, May 31, 2008

The break we needed, but is it enough?

The Rocky Mountain News got their hands on a letter purported to be from Willie D. Clark, a Tre Tre crip long believed to be the trigger man that shot up Darrent Williams' limo on New Years Day 2007.

Clark apparently wrote the letter to a fellow inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Littleton and left it inside a book in the law library, a place that all inmates are allowed to access and a frequent place where inmates pass messages. The letter was intercepted by a different inmate who hung on to it until he was released. He then sent it to the News, talked to the cops and DA's office and then (probably most tellingly), contacted the Broncos about the $100K reward.

The letter describes, in typical gangbanger prose, how Clark was concerned about someone who saw him fire into the Hummer limo as it passed 11th Ave. on Speer:

"(The person) seen me with the gun and shoot out the whip"

Brilliant, right? Earlier this year, Clark wrote a letter to the News and to a Federal judge denying any involvement and denying being anywhere near the Tahoe they found poorly and hilariously spray painted in Montbello later that day.

That "I'm innocent" letter may eventually be the one that hangs him, because the News sent both letters to a handwriting expert in Texas who opines that they were written by the same person. A person dumb enough to sign his full name (plus middle initial!) to a letter admitting to a murder.

Now that the back story is out of the way (seriously, go elsewhere for the back story. I'm pretty terrible.), what the fuck does it all mean? Is it enough for a conviction? I hope so, but I have my doubts.

I work at a law factory, but I'm middle management, not a law talking guy. Therefore I speak out of my ass when I say that if this is your only piece of direct evidence, and a repeat felon with dollar signs in his eyes is the only witness willing to come forward, your case isn't very strong. Obviously I don't know what else they have, but it can't be much, since nothing's been done in 18 months.

Handwriting analysis is wildly subjective and frequently gets tossed as evidence. "Junk Science" is a popular phrase. Clark's law talking guys will hire their own expert to say the letter is a forgery or that it isn't a match and what are you left with? An ex-convict looking to get paid. An ex-convict that will need to beat tough odds just to live through this.

Even with the all of the problems, it's still a huge, huge break. Hopefully it's a nice piece in the evidence puzzle that leads to the conviction of Clark. Someone else has to step forward, though and I think eventually, someone will. When that happens, the DPD, Denver DA, the CBI, the FBI and whoever else handles this type of stuff needs to make protecting that person for the rest of their life a priority.

I hope this works out for 27's family and the community as a whole, but I think we need more.

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