The remaining two of “The Buffalo 3’” Continue Their Fight For Justice. A rally will be held Friday, July 10 starting at 12 noon at 25 Delaware and proceeding to Niagara Square.
In 1976, John Walker and four of his friends were just happy-go-lucky 16-year old Black boys in East Buffalo when they were picked up and investigated for the murder of William Crawford, an elderly White man who lived on Fillmore Avenue across from the Golden Nugget.
At first, reflects John, they thought it was a joke, as evidenced by the smiles on their faces in newspaper photographs.
But those smiles were soon turned upside down.
In the end three of the five served more than 80 years combined, behind bars.
To compound the tragedy, they were all innocent.
This Friday, July 10 is John Walker’s 61st birthday. He will celebrate it with his life long friend Darryl Boyd and a host of supporters as they continue their fight for justice during a rally starting at 12 noon at 25 Delaware and proceeding to Niagara Square.
The community is urged to come out and hear Walker and Boyd share their story and support what may be their last best chance for total vindication.
“We need to have our case – Indictment #41413 – looked at,” said John. “I know for a fact that my health is not good and I do not want to die a convicted murderer for something I had nothing to do with….I do not want to leave that legacy to my son, John Walker III.”
-A Miscarriage of Justice-
When the case first started, all five of the teens were charged.
One took the plea deal; a second young man was represented by a smart, young lawyer named James A.W. McLeod and he was acquitted.
The other three defendants, John Walker, Darryl Boyd and Darryn Gibson, who were inadequately represented by public defenders, were convicted and spent decades in jail before they were paroled. Gibson, the son of a Buffalo minister, spent 12 years more in prison than he needed to because he refused to show remorse for a crime that he did not commit. The last time he appeared before the parole commissioners, they did not ask him to show remorse and he was paroled. Sadly, he died of a massive heart attack only a few months after he was released from prison.
“Our families were poor. We had an all White jury. There was no physical evidene. No blood No hair or clothing fiber. No fingerprints. No weapon. No money (from the alleged robbery). No nothing!” said John, who added that there were a host of other discrepancies.
All the prosecutor had was the scared, forced, false confession of a 16 year old who was drilled by an ambitious district attorney who offered this youth a ‘free card out of jail’ if he would just say they killed the man who lived on Fillmore Ave. All he had to do, the DA told him, was to implicate his co-defendants and leave town. The intimidated young man took the offer and ran out of town the same day he was released from the jail cell.
Darryn Gibson was given 25 to life and served 36 years. Darryl Boyd was given 20 to life and served a total of 26 years; and John Walker was given 17 to life and served 22 years. He completed 18 years on lifetime patrol without any violations.
The total combined number of years served for all three is 84; for Darryl and John, 48.
The Buffalo 3, minus the deceased Darryn Gibson, are still fighting to clear their name. John Walker and Darryl Boyd do not want to live the rest of their lives with the false charge of being murderers wrongly attached to them and their families.
“We were wrongfully convicted,” declared John. “ We had nothing to do with the murder of William Crawford! We never knew him. Never met him. We know for a fact that if we’re allowed back in the courtroom we can prove that we are innocent.”
Added Darryl, “ Darryn Gibson is lying in his grave right now a convicted felon…….and like us, he too is innocent.”
In 2005 then City Court Judge James A.W. McLeod publicly stated that he knew for a fact that the wrong men were convicted in the 1976 murder of William Crawford.
“Everybody we’ve had look at this case has come away saying there’s no way these guys could have committed that crime,” John added.
Over the years a lot of leaders promised a lot of things, said John. He reserved his kindest comments for Council President Darius Pridgen, who did try to help.
“I have to give credit where credit is due.”
“We need full vindication,” he continued. “I am still a convicted felon. A convicted murderer. And Darryl is still on parole…time is running out and I just want to get back in front of an impartial judge so they can see we had nothing to do with the murder of William Crawford.”
“Can somebody in authority please look at our case again?”