Man convicted of 2000 homicide might be exonerated after one other man is arrested for the crime

2021-05-27 02:57:13

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro police arrested a person for a homicide on Tuesday morning that one other man has already served time for.

However this time, police say they lastly have the man who did it.

Simply earlier than 11 am, SWAT officers and detectives arrested 51 12 months previous Calvin Atchison at a house within the Bellshire neighborhood for the 2000 homicide of Velma Tharpe. A identified intercourse employee,
her half bare physique was present in an alley in North Nashville. An post-mortem confirmed the 30 12 months previous had died from blunt drive trauma to her head and she or he’d additionally seemingly been strangled. It appeared that she’d additionally been sexually assaulted.

However what makes Atchison’s arrest so uncommon is {that a} 12 months after the homicide, police arrested a 28 12 months previous tow truck driver. Paul Shane Garrett later pled responsible and served 15 years for the crime, regardless that there was no proof or witnesses linking him to it.

However police and District Legal professional Glenn Funk each now say Atchison is the one who actually killed Tharpe and that it was his DNA that was discovered throughout Tharpe’s physique.

And, it seems, that earlier than Garrett pleaded responsible, detectives and the DA’s Workplace knew that the DNA proof discovered on the sufferer didn’t match Garrett. And a 12 months after Garrett went to jail, the TBI notified detectives and the DA that they’d recognized Atchison because the DNA match.

However neither police nor the DA’s Workplace adopted up on the brand new data.

And, extremely, the lead detective within the case, Roy Dunaway, repeatedly lied in courtroom about issues Garrett did and didn’t say.

Now, Metro Chilly Case detectives and DA Funk say that the DA’s workplace on the time and police completely bungled and botched the case.

Quick ahead to 2011 and Chilly Case Detective Mike Roland and Pat Postiglione stumbled onto the DNA match whereas investigating a collection of unsolved murders. After doing a little digging, each long-time detectives have been satisfied that Garrett was harmless and Atchison was the killer. They took their findings and shared their considerations with the DA’s Workplace which carried out its personal investigation. Then-ADA Kathy Morante urged then-District Legal professional Torry Johnson to maneuver to exonerate Garrett. However Johnson stated whereas he now not had confidence in Garrett’s conviction, his workplace argued that Garrett had agreed to plead responsible and fought to exonerate Garrett.

However Detective Roland could not shake the sensation that the mistaken man had been convicted. And final fall, he requested the DA’s new Conviction Overview Unit to take one other have a look at the case. Their investigation discovered convincing proof that Garrett didn’t commit the homicide and Atchison did.

DA Funk wrote in a courtroom briefing asking the courtroom to vacate or throw out Garrett’s conviction, there’s “clear and convincing proof establishing Mr. Garrett was satisfied of against the law he didn’t commit.”

The DA additionally not too long ago offered the case in opposition to Atchison to the grand jury which led to his arrest, dealing with first diploma premeditated homicide costs.

Paul Shane Garrett in the meantime served his full sentence and was launched.

He’s now asking to be exonerated and the D.A.’s workplace is supporting his efforts to clear his title.

The Tennessee Innocence Mission is representing him in that effort.

Govt Director Jessica Van Dyke launched this assertion following Atchison’s arrest:

“The Tennessee Innocence Mission, a non-profit legislation agency, represents Paul Shane Garrett in his petition for post-conviction aid, asserting new scientific proof of his precise innocence, unknown when he was convicted. Exposing a wrongful legal conviction is just not solely step one at bringing justice to an harmless individual and their family members, but additionally usually aids in seeing that the really responsible are delivered to justice. We respect the chance to work with the Davidson County District Legal professional Normal’s Workplace to disclose the reality. Up to now, greater than 2,700 folks have misplaced almost 25,000 years because of wrongful convictions throughout the USA. Launched in February 2019 as the primary full-time innocence group within the state, the Tennessee Innocence Mission works to free wrongfully convicted Tennesseans. The Tennessee Innocence Mission has three main areas of focus: 1) investigating and litigating wrongful conviction instances for these in Tennessee prisons to acquire exonerations, 2) coaching legislation college students and attorneys about tips on how to litigate these instances and tips on how to stop future wrongful convictions, and three) effectuating adjustments that facilitate the invention of wrongful convictions and treatments to the wrongfully convicted.”

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