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“Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned.”
Sousa’s ex-Girlfriend gets revenge...

Dorothy Willetts Testimony is at the Bottom of this Page

Testimony Refuting Dorothy Willetts Testimony

21 The Government called one of the trial prosecutors, Joseph Guerrieri, at the 2004 Hearing. He testified that Ms. Willetts called the United States Attorneys office indicating that she had some information concerning a case we were investigating. And in some way, we then contacted her. 2004 Hearing 12/9/04 Tr. at 62 (Guerrieri).

Mr. Sousa also testified to a prior sexually-intimate relationship with Ms. Willetts, which he had ended and which had caused Ms. Willetts to become vengeful and angry, as demonstrated by Ms. Willettss call to Mrs. Sousa to report the affair after it was over. Id. at 41

Lillian Gordan-McClure, formerly Lillian Gordan, testified at the 2004 Hearing. Through her demeanor and the clarity of her answers, Ms. Gordan-McClure appeared to be a fully credible witness. As she did at trial, Ms. Gordan-McClure testified that she worked at Horns in 1975. Hearing a reading of Ms. Willetts’s trial testimony that Mr. Sousa had threatened to cut Ms. Gordan-McClure like he did that nigger in D.C. during a confrontation over the bill, Ms. Gordan- McClure emphatically denied it. 2004 Hearing 12/8/04 P.M. Tr. at 41 (Gordan-McClure). Indeed, because Ms. Gordan-McClure had once been related to Ms. Willetts’s husband by marriage, she knew that Ms. Willetts was at Horn’s with her husband but recalled no such incident. Id. at 43.

As to Ms. Willetts’s trial testimony that Michael Kurz and his wife Sandra were with her at the Scottish Inn when Mr. Sousa allegedly stated that her testimony could convict him, Trial Tr. at 1672-73 (Willetts), Mr. Kurz was called as a new witness at the 2004 Hearing and credibly testified that he had never been to the Scottish Inn, nor any bar, club or restaurant with Ms. Willetts. 2004 Hearing 12/8/04 P.M. Tr. at 32-34 (Kurz). Mr. Kurz also testified that he never heard the Petitioners discuss the murder. Id. at 33.

Lastly, Bran Dillard testified at the 2004 Hearing that he had worked at the Scottish Inn in 1974 as a musician and knew Messrs. Eastridge and Sousa, both of whom told him that they were innocent of Mr. Battles killing. 2004 Hearing 12/7/04 Tr. at 90 (Dillard). At trial, Ms. Willetts testified that Mr. Sousa made incriminating remarks at the Scottish Inn in November 1975 at which a Fran Dillard was present. Trial Tr. at 1672-73. The Petitioners believe that Fran Dillard is actually Bran Dillard. 2004 Hearing 12/7/04 Tr. at 95. Contradicting Ms. Willetts’s testimony, Mr. Dillard testified at the 2004 Hearing that Mr. Sousa never made an incriminating remark in his presence and that he does not recall being present during the incriminating dialogue to which Ms. Willetts testified. Id. at 91, 95. Additionally, Mr. Dillard testified that he knew Ms. Willetts and thought that she was infatuated with [Mr. Sousa], leading to false testimony at his trial Id. at 91. Mr. Sousa was trying to repair his relationship with his wife and Mr. Dillard thought that Ms. Willetts was a spiteful woman. “[Y]ou wouldn’t want to cross that woman.” Id. at 92- 93.

Further testimony about Ms. Willetts’s character was offered at the 2004 Hearing by Joyce Hughes, who believed that Ms. Willetts was a vindictive person who was obsessed with Mr. Sousa. 2004 Hearing 12/8/04 P.M. Tr. at 10 (Hughes). Ms. Hughes alleged that Ms. Willetts had a pattern of such behavior, as when she became pregnant by Ronnie Garland, a man not her husband, and then threatened Mrs. Garland and tried to disrupt their marriage. Id. It was Ms. Hughess opinion that Ms. Willetts was out for revenge against Mr. Sousa. Id. at 11.

 

Ms. Willetts’s testimony does not change this conclusion. In light of all the other evidence, new and old, that leads to the conclusion that no reasonable juror would convict Messrs. Sousa and Eastridge, one is forced to find that Ms. Willetts is not to be credited. If Mr. Sousa and Mr. Eastridge never reached the site of Johnnie Battles murder, as the full record indicates, it is beyond belief that they would repeatedly say that they killed him, to strangers and friends, while awaiting trial. Evidence at the 2004 Hearing that the people who allegedly heard these comments deny they ever occurred only underscored the inherent problems with Ms. Willetts’s testimony once the rest of the story had been told.

The defendants attempted to discredit Ms. Willetts, the only witness to put knives in the hands of Messrs. Eastridge and Sousa. Each defendant also testified on his own behalf. Donald Lambert, a friend of Mr. Sousa, testified that he was at the Scottish Inn in November 1974 on one of the nights that Ms. Willetts claimed inculpatory statements were made. Ms. Willetts approached their table and bumped into Mr. Sousa. Although they exchanged words, Mr. Lambert claimed the encounter was unremarkable; he could not remember specifically what they said to each other but he did not hear any discussion of assaulting or killing a Black man. Trial Tr. at 2147 (Lambert). Lillian Gordon testified that she worked as a waitress at Horns Motor Lodge in 1974. Contrary to Ms. Willetts’s claim, Ms. Gordon asserted that Mr. Sousa had never threatened her or said that he would cut her like he had a Black man in Washington. Trial Tr. at 2162 (Gordan). On cross-examination, she denied that she had a dispute with Mr. Sousa over the amount of change he should receive on a bill. Id. at 2166. Ms. Kerr testified that she had been at the Jockey Club with Mr. Eastridge on a night that Ms.Willetts was also present. Ms. Kerr stated that she never heard Mr. Eastridge make any remarks that associated him with the killing of Mr. Battle. Trial Tr. at 2278 (Kerr).

Dorothy Willetts’ Testimony

Dorothy Willetts’s testimony at trial was the capstone to the prosecutions case against Messrs. Eastridge and Sousa. Ms. Willetts was a volunteer witness who had contacted the prosecutors before trial and informed them that Mr. Eastridge and Mr. Sousa had repeatedly confessed to the murder.21

Ms. Willetts testified that she and her husband went to a restaurant called The Jockey Club near Richmond, Virginia, about two weeks after she gave birth to a child. The Willettses shared a table with Patricia Moser and Rita Kerr. Trial Tr. at 1658-61 (Willetts).22 Messrs. Eastridge and Sousa, who had been released from jail pending trial, came over and sat down and Mr. Sousa confessed that while you were having the kid, we were killing a nigger in D.C. . . . . Id. at 1662. When Ms. Willetts inquired further, Mr. Sousa allegedly responded, Not me; he did it. And he looked at Wayne [Eastridge]. Id. According to Ms. Willetts, they each implicated the other, claiming that Mr. Eastridge cut off Mr. Battles ear and Mr. Sousa cut off his nose. Id. Mr. Eastridge then purportedly exclaimed, Well, I just cant help it when I get to stabbing. I cant help it. I cant quit. I kept going. Id.

21 The Government called one of the trial prosecutors, Joseph Guerrieri, at the 2004 Hearing. He testified that Ms. Willetts called the United States Attorneys office indicating that she had some information concerning a case we were investigating. And in some way, we then contacted her. 2004 Hearing 12/9/04 Tr. at 62 (Guerrieri).

22 Ms. Willetts adopted a prior statement that was read to the grand jury in which she alleged that Tommy Newton was present at the Jockey Club with Pat Moser on at least one of times that Messrs. Sousa and Eastridge implicated themselves. She stated that Petitioners threatened Mr. Newton and discussed the incident in D.C. 2004 Hearing, Exh. 8 at 11. Mr. Newton signed an affidavit in 1991, swearing that, although he attended the Jockey Club in 1974 or 1975 with Ms. Moser, Petitioners never threatened him or mentioned the murder. 2004 Hearing, Exh. 36.

Ms. Willetts testified that Mr. Sousa again made incriminating remarks in March or April 1975, at a nightclub called Horns. Ms. Willetts was out with her husband and Ms. Moser, and observed Mr. Sousa threatening a waitress that, unless the waitress gave him the correct change, he would cut her like he did that nigger in D.C. Id. at 1668.23

Ms. Willetts further testified that Mr. Sousa again incriminated himself at the Scottish Inn on November 9, 1975. While with her husband and Sandra and Michael Kurz,24 Ms. Willetts testified that she overheard Mr. Sousa in the middle of a conversation with Bran Dillard.25 “I said to Nick [Sousa] that I hadn’t lied on him before in court, and that I wanted him to know that I didn’t intend to lie if I was called as a witness up here.” Id. at 1673. Mr. Sousa reportedly responded “Yeah, I know; that’s what worries me . . . . With what you could say, I might get forty years.” Id.

Without additional detail of times and places, Ms. Willetts also testified that Messrs. Eastridge and Sousa repeatedly discussed the killing in her presence: they acknowledged cutting off the victims nose and ears on seven or eight - ten occasions. Id. at 1675. “Nick and Wayne would talk about it back and forth to each other just practically every time we were with them . . .” Id.

Indeed, Ms. Willetts testified that the last time she heard discussion of the mayhem was on June 7, 1975. Id. at 1677.

 

23 Although not clear from the trial record, the Grand Jury testimony indicates that the waitress was Lillian Gordon, Mr. Willettss former sister-in-law. See 2004 Hearing, Exh. 8 at 8. 24 Petitioners propose that the trial transcripts incorrectly list these names as Sandra and Michael Kerr. Ms. Willetts stated at trial that Sandra was her husbands foster sister. Trial Tr. at 1672. At the 2004 Hearing, Michael Kurz stated that his former wife Sandra was Charles Willetts’s foster sister. 2004 Hearing 12/8/04 P.M. Tr. at 32 (Kurz).

25 Again, Petitioners propose that the trial transcript is incorrect, referring to Fran instead of Bran Dillard. Petitioners Post-Evidentiary Hearing Brief at 10.t

 

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