On January 11, 2011 Antwine Jackson was confronted by a man in a convenience store. Minutes later, that man stole Jackson’s life with a singular gunshot just outside the store. Moments after the tragedy, Dontia Patterson entered that same convenience store. This average trip to the store would unfortunately cost the innocent Patterson 11 years of his liberty.
Two years ago, our nonprofit partner, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, teamed up with Cozen O’Connor to help Dontia Patterson regain his freedom. The team interviewed key witnesses, including the store owner who told police that Patterson was not the shooter. In the original trial, the storeowner was ignored by the police and not called to testify. The team also discovered that some police officers may have had personal motives to target Mr. Patterson.
With the truth on their side, and evidence to back it up, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and Cozen O’Connor filed a 134 page Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition and made comprehensive presentations to the DA’s office. The PCRA detailed information including a lack of motive and credibility of eyewitnesses. Finally on May 16, 2018, after 11 years of being unjustly imprisoned and months of house arrest, Dontia Patterson was released from ties to the criminal justice system regarding this case.
For the full story and information on the PCRA, visit Philly.com.