Justin Wolfe was charged with capital murder for allegedly hiring someone to kill Daniel Petrole Jr., in 2001. Prince William County prosecutors theorized that Wolfe, who was 19 at the time and sold marijuana that he purchased from Petrole, murdered his drug supplier because he owed Petrole vast amounts of money. Rather than pay up, they claimed, Wolfe arranged a hit on the drug boss, allegedly choosing Owen Barber IV as his triggerman. In addition to Barber’s testimony implicating Wolfe, the cops were able to link Wolfe, Barber, and Petrole to the drug ring via phone records. In 2002, a jury in Prince William County, Virginia, convicted Wolfe and sentenced him to death. He’s been in prison since his arrest in 2001, and on death row for most of that time. In 2005, he came within two weeks of being executed.
In the summer of 2011, Raymond A. Jackson, a federal district judge in Norfolk, vacated the murder conviction and Wolfe’s death sentence.
What led Judge Jackson to make that decision? For one thing, Barber recanted his testimony. Barber was the main witness against Wolfe at trial, and the only one who testified to the murder-for-hire. But in 2005, he completely disavowed the story he told at trial, swearing that he had lied about Wolfe hiring him to kill Petrole only after the cops threatened him with the death penalty. It was the police, Barber said, who cooked up the idea that Wolfe was the mastermind behind the murder-for-hire.
Source & Read More : Article Nov 2014 Slate.com “Why Is Justin Wolfe Still in Prison?”
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