1984 DC Murder Case Back in Court

Seven convicted men claiming innocence in death of Catherine Fuller

Monday, Apr 23, 2012  |  Updated 8:04 PM EDT
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The men convicted of the violent 1984 murder of Catherine Fuller in Washington are innocent and should be set free a lawyer representing the men told a D.C. Superior Court judge Monday. News4's Pat Collins reports. Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.

Pat Collins, Bill Hennessy

The men convicted of the violent 1984 murder of Catherine Fuller in Washington are innocent and should be set free a lawyer representing the men told a D.C. Superior Court judge Monday. News4's Pat Collins reports. Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.

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Seven men convicted of a violent 1984 murder in Washington are innocent and should be set free a lawyer representing the men told a D.C. Superior Court judge Monday at the start of what is expected to be a weeks-long hearing.

The group was convicted of murdering 48-year-old Catherine Fuller on Oct. 1, 1984. Fuller had been robbed, beaten, sodomized and left in a garage in an alley off H and Eighth streets in northeast Washington.

A lawyer for the men called the killing a “terrible, horrific crime” but told the judge that the case against his clients was weak. The lawyer said an “avalanche of new information” points to their innocence.

A government lawyer disagreed, saying a jury had carefully considered the evidence in the case.

One of the convicted men testified Monday that his videotaped testimony about the crime played at the trial 27 years ago was a lie police forced him to tell. Cliff Yarborough testified that police “… threw him around … hit his head on a table and held him over a toilet … to get him to talk …” They spent hours rehearsing his taped statement. He said he was scared into doing what police wanted.

The defense said most of the witnesses from the original trial have recanted their testimony and there’s evidence that other men may have killed Fuller.

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