March 28, 2007
Freed by DNA, ex-convict sues county, police
By David Conti, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A Braddock man who spent more than 16 years in prison on a murder rap before
DNA evidence set him free filed a federal lawsuit today against Allegheny
County, six former homicide detectives and a lawyer who once represented
Drew Whitley, 51, claims the county and its detectives ignored evidence that
would have cleared him of the crime years ago and fabricated testimony that
led to his 1989 conviction for the fatal shooting of a fast-food restaurant
"The criminal proceedings instituted by the defendants herein were
undertaken maliciously, vengefully and with bias..." attorney Lawrence H.
Fisher wrote in the lawsuit filed this morning in U.S. District Court,
Whitley is seeking unspecified damages for his claims of malicious
prosecution and civil rights violations.
He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for
the August 1988 slaying of Noreen Malloy, 22, outside the McDonald's in
Duquesne, near Kennywood Park. The jury's verdict was based partly on
testimony from a death-row inmate who claimed Whitley confessed, and a crime
lab technician's opinion that hairs found in a stocking mask worn by the
killer were similar to Whitley's.
DNA tests last year showed the hairs did not come from Whitley. The District
Attorney's office withdrew the charges and a judge set him free in May.
Whitley also named attorney Sanford A. Middleman in his lawsuit, claiming
the lawyer shirked his responsibilities to pursue appeals on Whitley's
Source : Pittsburgh Tribune-Review