48 Years In Prison for A Crime They Did Not Commit !

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?”

(challenger photos)