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Philadelphia Man Cleared Of Murder Charges After Spending 21 Years In Prison

A Philadelphia man was fully exonerated after serving 21 years in prison. John Miller, 44, had been incarcerated for more nearly half of his life and on Wednesday (July 31), family members greeted him with tears as he was released from a Pennsylvania prison.

“Soon as I stepped out the doors I just looked up and was just thankful and blessed for what God has done for me,” the newly freed Miller said.

In 1997, Miller was wrongfully convicted of fatally shooting Anthony Mullen  at a Philadelphia train station during a robbery attempt the year prior. The case went cold for months until Miller’s neighbor, David Williams, was arrested by police over an unrelated burglary and offered up false information on Mullen’s murder in exchange for leniency, Penn Live reports. Williams claimed Miller killed Mullen, and despite having no physical evidence tying him to the crime, Miller was arrested and convicted of murder. According to NBC News Philadelphia, Williams later admitted to being the actual shooter, but it did nothing to help Miller’s case and he spent two decades in prison.

When Philadelphia D.A. Attorney Larry Krasner took office in 2018, he vowed to reform the city’s prison system and to help end mass incarceration. Since then, several people in the city have been freed on wrongful convictions.

Eight years ago, Miller contacted the Pennsylvania Innocence Project for help. Miller’s lawyers filed numerous appeals all of which were denied, until a federal court offered him hope. The higher court granted a motion of relief provided that Krasner’s office reviewed the case. The case was transferred over to the DOA’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which led to Miller's conviction being vacated.

“I just kept the faith, stayed positive, and I knew that one day justice was going to be served,” Miller told reporters.

Miller is one of two Philadelphia men whose murder convictions were overturned in the last week, and among seven people exonerated in the city this year.


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California Woman Claims School Bully Left Son With Permanent Brain Damage

A Southern California mom says her son suffered permanent brain damage after a violent run-in with a bully, CBS Los Angeles reports.  The woman, identified only as “Sarah” to protect her and her son’s identity, is suing Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Playa Vista, California, over a 2018 altercation in which her son was attacked by a bully and placed in the school office for several minutes before paramedics were called.

Footage of the altercation was caught on the school’s surveillance cameras and appears to show her 12-year-old son getting off the bus before being approached by a larger student. The apparent bully punched her son and put him in a chokehold.

Ben Meiselas, a lawyer representing the family, claims the bully did a YouTube search for “the most painful pressure points on the neck” prior to altercation. A school staff member can also be seen walking by as the boy is being attacked. The boy is eventually brought inside the school.

Staff members realize that the boy is hurt and take him into the school’s main office to lay him on the floor. The boy suffered a seizure in the office, and lost consciousness twice, the lawsuit states. School officials are also accused of failing to call paramedics for several minutes.

“By the time I get there, I’m thinking paramedics [arrived] and he’s going to have help,” said the boy’s mother. “My son is literally laying there still in the middle of the office floor completely black and blue.”

Despite viewing video of the altercation, the school district has yet to apologize to the victim and his mother, Meiselas said. “The fact that they can watch that video and not so much offer an apology is really, really, really disgusting.”

See more in the video below.

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E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool

R.Kelly "Refused Transport" And Didn't Appear In Court

R.Kelly was a no show inside a Cook County courtroom in regards to the string of sexual abuse charges leveled against him.

The 52-year-old singer reportedly "refused transport" from the federal lockup in downtown Chicago to the Leighton Criminal Court Building Thursday morning. (Aug. 15)

Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said the U.S. Marshall Service has expressed frustration about transporting the singer. However, Greenberg didn't go into details while in court. “Suffice it to say that the Marshals Service said moving Mr. Kelly is a large undertaking.”

Kelly was indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly setting up sexual encounters with minors and then conspiring to cover it up. In February, Cook County officials were the first to charge him with sexual abuse of women, three of which were minors.

In July, New York prosecutors charged Kelly with one count of racketeering and four counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits sex trafficking across state lines. There are five alleged victims in the New York indictment including a reported three girls.

The singer-songwriter was arrested in Chicago on July 12 and has been held without bond at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The singer has remained in solitary confinement, and according to his lawyer is miserable.

"He’s not a fighter. I’ve seen him cry when he talks about the situation,” Greenberg said.

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Bill Pugliano

A Petition To Rename A Street By Trump Tower After Obama Received 100K Signatures

More than 100,000 people have given their digital signatures to a petition requesting a block of Manhattan Avenue be renamed after President Barack Obama. This is the same stretch of land that houses Trump Tower.

Elizabeth Rowin started the petition as a joke and quickly realized there were others who supported the idea. While speaking with Newsweek, Rowin said she's heard from "several" city council members who showed interest in the idea.

If the change were to be made then the address of any building between 56th and 57th streets and Fifth Avenue would be changed including Trump Tower's address, which would be 725 President Barack H. Obama Ave.

The only catch to Rowin's request: to rename a street after a person in New York City, the person has to be dead.

"I am sure the conditions can be changed," Rowin said. "There are two streets in LA named after former President Obama. These laws are arbitrary and can be worked around," she said.

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