The Prejudicial Effect of Chaz Minor’s Joint Trial
In the case of the wrongful conviction of Chaz Minor, at no time does there exist any manner of material evidence, forensic or otherwise, that incriminates Minor in the shooting of Kevin Berry. As a matter of fact, aside from protesting his innocence at al times during the criminal proceedings against him, Minor had a verifiable alibi on the date of the April 1, 2005 shooting of Kevin Berry. Minor’s alibi affirms the impossibility of Minor’s presence at the Fay Apartments at the time of the shooting of Kevin Berry. However, the Hamilton County, Ohio Prosecutor and the Cincinnati Police Department, directed by rogue Detective William Hilbert, literally destroyed Minor’s alibi defense by forcing Minor into a joint trial with Larry Lewis.
The joint trial with Larry Lewis, who was materially implicated in the shoting of Kevin Berry, produced the effect of falsely imputing culpability to Chaz Minor, an actual innocent co-defendant. This presumption of guilt happens whether or not the co-defendant jointly accused is actually innocent or not. Seated side-by-side at the defense table during their joint trial, in the eyes f the jury the criminal acts of Larry Lewis unequivocally transslated as a presumptin of guilt toward Chaz Minor. Both astut prosecutors and police investigators alike are aware of this psychology impacting jurors, and employ it when obtaining a wrongful conviction. This represents another common thread of prosecutorial abuse of justice tactic often germane of the injustice of wrongful convictions.
At all times during the police investigation of Larry Lewis, as a suspect in the shooting death of Kevin Berry, Lewis informed the investigators that Chaz Minor was at no time ever present with Lewis at the Fay Apartments on the evening of the shooting of Berry. Lewis went further to provide that Minor had abbsolutely no involvement with the series of events leading to the shooting of Berry. This fact was further confirmed by the statements of the jailhouse snitch who implicated Lewis in the shooting of Berry. Specifically, of the information allegedly provided in confidence by Lewis to the jailhouse informant, at no time was there any mention made of Chaz Minor’s involvement.
Most importantly, the sworn trial testimony of Larry Lewis elicited the following critical information:
“Lewis contends that the trial court erred when it admitted evidence that unidentified witnesses had threatened Weaver and Johnson, and that unidentified witnesses had told Detective Hilbert and VonHolle that Lewis and (Chaz) Minor had killed Berry.
During Detective Von Holle’s direct examination by the state, he recoounted his questioning of Lewis. During the questioning, Lewis had implicated Diamond Johnson, Chaz Minor’s brother, and Styles Hummons as Berry’s murderers. He told the detective that he had given .45-caliber ammunition, similar to that recovered at the crime scene, to Hummons before Berry’s murder. The state then asked the detective, ‘Did you confront Mr. Lewis with the fact that there had been eyewitnesses that placed him at the scene firing at [Berry]?’ Detective Von Holle answwered, ‘I did.’ Detective Von Holle continued, ‘I told Larry Lewis there werre eyewitnesses to himself and Chaz Minor at the scene of the crime. *** I told him *** witnesses say that it wasn’t Diamond that walked up here. It was Chaz Minor. And witnesses say this wasn’t Styles Hummons that walked up here, it was you that walked up there and shot him.’ Lewis maintained that Diamond Johnson and Hummons had killed Berry” (See: State v. Lewis, 2007-Ohio-1485, at [*P27], [*P38]).
The critical significance of the foregoing testimony of Lewis is that the rogue tactics of Cincinnati police Detectives William Hilbert and Paul Von Holle, the Cincinnati police detectives involved in wrongfully framing Joshua Maxton for a murder Mr. Maxton simply did not commit, remained so preoccupied toward effecting the wrongful conviction of Chaz Minor that they neglected to investigate the information that directly pointed toward now accused serial killer Styles Hummons! (See: https://www.fox19.com/story/7018790/update-second-arrest-made-in-double-homicide/) The travesty of this revelation is that had Detectives Hilbert and Von Holle only followed the lead on Styles Hummons, is it possible that a suspected serial killer like Styles Hummons would have come to justice before any further serial murders were committed?
NOTE: Yusuf Bilaal is an acclaimed legal research consultant. Yusuf has successfully researched and briefed cases for various actual innocence projects, inclusive of the Actual Innocence Project of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Yusuf may be contacted at: Yusuf B. McKinney, P..O. Box 4501 (A468437), Lima, OH 45802-4501, or at inmateblogger.com – McKinney, A468437