Victims of the State
Wrongly convicted innocents and other individuals abused by the Criminal Justice System.
Alphabetical by State, County 
United States - 957 Cases

District of Columbia
 Nov 1974

   Michael Damien, Joseph Nick Sousa, and Joseph Wayne Eastridge were convicted of the stabbing murder of Johnnie Battle. The three had attended a birthday celebration for the president of the Pagan Motorcycle Club (PMC). It was Sousa and Eastridge’s first PMC event. Following the event, a group of bikers got into a brief altercation with three black males. Two of the blacks returned, and one of them, Johnnie Battle, opened fire at the bikers, seriously wounding one.  In response, several of the bikers chased down Battle and stabbed him to death. The three defendants came to the attention of police because they were unfamiliar with the area and had inadvertently circled the block.  Police, arriving at the scene, stopped their car at a time when the other bikers had dispersed.

   The convictions were based upon the testimony of Sousa’s ex-girlfriend, Dorothy Willetts. Centurion Ministries tracked down witnesses and found the three were not involved. Damien and Sousa were paroled in 1995 and Eastridge was paroled in 2005.  In a 2005 hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer exonerated the three.  She declared, “The Court finds that this is the rare case in which petitioners can prove their actual innocence of the crime charged as well as violations of their constitutional rights at trial.” 
(CM 35-37) [0702]

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