‘I willingly admit that I wasn’t an angel when I was in society and squandered many opportunities to live life the right way’ – Jermane Scott April 2015
Prom photo. 18 year old Jermane. Less than 1 year after this photo was taken Jermane entered prison and started a LIFE sentence for a crime he did not commit.
My story begins on the 3rd December 1996. A man’s life was taken and quite honestly it was a senseless killing. The man died at the hands of a robbery attempt that went horribly wrong. The reason for this robbery I believe was for the victims personal belongings and his car. In 1996 I was a 19-year-old boy and was heavy in the street life. Getting money and clothes was the theme of my life. Chasing money was what I lived for. I was no angel citizen, a punk, a young naive boy who wanted to fit in (with the crowd) I lived amongst. I could sit here and blame my background, my lack of education, my broken family, my neighbourhood, the lack of opportunities boys like me had available to them once we left (thrown out of) school or peer pressure as the reasons why I chose to take that path in life but I can’t. I chose that path and I take full responsibility for my decision.
The first I heard about this man’s murder was when it hit the local newspaper and the only reason it drew my attention was because I recognised his name from the credit card that I had used at the Mall days before. Days previously 2 young men (known to me vaguely in passing) had given me this credit card and we (along with a number of other boys) had gone to the Mall and purchased items using it. ALL of us used that credit card. The 2 young men ended up being the States ‘Star Witnesses’ used against me and my silent cries of innocence in a court of law
On December 9th 1996 the police arrested me for this man’s murder. Call me naive but right at that moment in time I wasn’t too concerned – I was innocent. I knew I hadn’t killed no one (and I never have). I was one of those teenagers who thought I was truly untouchable, besides I had not got a criminal record. I was brought up to believe that if I told the truth, the truth would prevail at all times. I was questioned by the police who asked me if I knew the victim. I told them the truth that I did not know the victim and had never seen him in my life. They called me a liar and told me that they knew I had murdered him for his belongings and money. That was when I knew that I needed help so I asked for a lawyer. I remember clearly that angered them and they blurted out that my ‘friends’ (the 2 young men) were placing all the blame solely on me. By this time I had been interrogated for over 4 hours and I was fed up. I told them ‘charge me or let me go’ (because I knew full well they had NO evidence to charge me with. I was innocent of this crime)……they sent me to jail and charged me with Murder. It’s not like it is on T.V you know. You don’t get 1 phone call. You don’t get the luxury of telling someone (who loves you) where you are. Nobody knew where I was until the next day (when I got to call my Dad) right before I went to court. It was a whirlwind. In a matter of days I went from sitting in my home to being accused of murder to being sent to court. I was 19 years old, uneducated, unknowledgeable of the justice system/the world and the way both work. I was alone and confused with no representation and no understanding of the severity of the situation I had found myself in. All I knew was I WAS INNOCENT and as long as I told the truth I would NOT be going to jail. The truth ALWAYS comes out right? Wrong. I was in the county lock up for 9 months fighting this case. And when I say ‘fighting’ it was a very unfair, unbalanced fight between the heavy weights (police/State prosecutors) and the light weights (some 19-year-old punk, who had no clue of how the Justice system worked. An indigent defendant – me)
My Dad was a working man but we were not rich. He couldn’t afford an attorney for me so I was stuck with a State Attorney Lawyer and needless to say their heart truly wasn’t into trying to defend a ‘street gang’ young punk. Even back then I knew that this wasn’t going to be a fair trial. How could it be when it was the State who was prosecuting me and it was the State who was also defending me?! Even some street punk knows that’s no fair fight from the get go. Those lawyers must have spoken to me 4 or 5 times in that whole 9 ½ months (in lock up). My trial lasted 7 to 10 days. Suffice to say the outcome saw me get Life (without parole) for Aggravated Murder/Forgery and Credit Card Misuse. Throughout my police questioning, throughout my court hearings and trial I maintained I was guilty of using that stolen credit card but I was INNOCENT of murder/burglary and robbery. My case was appealed just once at the very lowest court in the State by yet another State appointed lawyer. I have not spoken nor had my voice heard since the very beginning. Each time I spoke I was called a LIAR. I have been on my own for quite some time now (20 years). Silent. Until now. Now it’s time I break my silence. Its time I came home. Jermane Scott May 2015
Jermane Scott was sentenced to LIFE (with no chance of parole) at 19 years old for a crime he did NOT commit. This was his First (and ONLY) Offence. NO DNA Evidence, NO Motive, No Murder Weapon, NO physical evidence & False Inconsistent/Contradictory Witness Statements. A case founded on LIES with ZERO actual evidence to prove his guilt bar 2 ‘Witness’ Statements
Jermane now aged 40 years old