D.C. Judge Upholds Convictions in 1980s Gang Murder

Monday, Aug 6, 2012  |  Updated 5:24 PM EDT
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D.C. Judge Upholds Convictions in 1980s Gang Murder

Bill Hennessy

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A judge has refused to overturn the convictions of seven men convicted of a 1984 murder in the District of Columbia.

Lawyers for the men argued in court this year that there was new information pointing to their clients' innocence in the death of Catherine Fuller. They said evidence showed she was murdered by one or two people instead of the mass beating described at trial. They also said prosecutors withheld evidence that could have been favorable.

But prosecutors said they were confident in the original verdict, and Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg said in an opinion released Monday that the men failed to present DNA or scientific evidence that could exonerate them. The judge also said that while the prosecution should have disclosed some information in 1985, that information would not have made a difference in the outcome of the trial.

"Nearly 30 years after the brutal murder of Catherine Fuller shocked our community, seven men found guilty of her killing sought to overturn their convictions on a number of grounds, including unfounded allegations of misconduct by police and prosecutors," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Today the court rejected those claims and reaffirmed that the evidence of these murderers’ guilt is overwhelming."

A lawyer who argued the appeal didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

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