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Shooting victim convicted

Multiple injustices contributed to conviction

Edward N. Carlton was hit by a bullet in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 1, 1985, and passed out. When he awoke, he was 20 miles away at a hospital in Canton Township. The car or people that transported him were never found.

Ron Robinson was found dead of a gunshot wound in his home in Ann Arbor. Investigation of the Robinson shooting focused on Edward Carlton. He insisted on a chemical test to show whether he had fired a weapon. The police refused.

As police investigated, they found that Carlton was hit by a bullet from a gun which they found in the Robinson home. However, no blood of Carlton was in the home or in the vicinity. His fingerprints were not there. According to police, the home was not ransacked, and police found several ounces of marijuana and over $1000 in cash.

A pathologist found that Robinson was struck in the head by a shot that killed him instantly. Robinson could not have fired a shot after being hit.

Carlton was arrested. A man in jail with him, Raymond Neal Johnson, testified that Carlton confessed to him that he (Carlton) had robbed and killed Ron Robinson.

Carlton's lawyer found a witness who was in the area, Geraldine Kendall. However, police did not like her story, so they locked her in jail until after the trial, and threatened her that if she did not change her story they would charge her with accessory to murder.

The prosecutor told the jury that police had found the Robinson house "in disarray," suggesting a robbery gone bad. Officer Robert Winter, however, testified there was nothing ransacked or out of place in the house.

Carlton does not know who shot him on the street. He knows only that he was hit by a bullet, and awoke in the hospital. Although the shot was with a gun found in Robinson's home, it is unknown whether Robinson shot Carlton. If he did, and if it is believed that Carlton shot Robinson, then any firing by Carlton, if any, was return fire, which would make it self-defense.

However, Carlton fell upon being shot, and did not shoot anyone. Unknown people transported him to the hospital. His request to have his hands chemically tested was denied.

Despite the absence of evidence of a robbery, Carlton was convicted of killing Robinson during a robbery, which is first degree murder in Michigan. His lawyer on appeal filed a brief that was not to Carlton's satisfaction, and he filed a complaint against the lawyer. The lawyer withdrew from the case, but the court would not appoint another lawyer. Ironically, although the appeal went forward with Carlton denied a lawyer, the courts later denied Carlton a hearing on his motions because he should have raised the issues on his appeal, and because his appeal lawyer (he had no appeal lawyer because the appointed lawyer withdrew with the court's permission) was "not ineffective."

Ultimately, Raymond Neal Johnson submitted an affidavit admitting that he had lied, because certain named police officers had threatened him to make him lie. This made no difference to the judge, who claimed that a recantation is "highly suspect." He went on to hold that the testimony of Geraldine Kendall was strong and proved that Carlton was armed and guilty of robbery and murder.

However, Kendall had testified that she did not see who shot Ron Robinson. She did not hear any robbery announced. She did not see who if anyone was outside his apartment. She did see her car being driven away. She also admitted that she had told lies to the police. It was the position of the prosecution that they "have no reason to believe that she is telling anything but falsehoods at this point."

So, we may perhaps wonder why Judge Kurtis Wilder ruled "The evidence presented by other witnesses who have not recanted, particularly Geraldine Kendall, is strong and supports Defendant's conviction." For if her testimony was strong, and did support the conviction, one would think the prosecutor would have no reason to condemn her testimony as "falsehoods."

In the meantime, Raymond Neal Johnson sued 3 police officers for coming to him in jail, providing him information about Carlton, and pressuring him to lie against Carlton. United States District Judge Horace Gilmore refused to dismiss the claims against the officers, so that case moves forward. The case of Edward Carlton trying to regain his freedom is stalled.

Carlton wants people to send money to his defense fund at:

Edward N. Carlton Defense Fund
157 California Ave.
Highland Park, MI 48203

He also wants people to send him letters, to which he will respond with further information. The address is:

Edward N. Carlton
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility
PO Box 1888
Adrian, MI 49221

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