Montez Spradley was wrongly convicted of the 2004 murder of a 58-year old white woman in Birmingham.
He spent nine years behind bars — including three-and-a-half years on Alabama’s death row.
The prosecution relied on tainted and inconsistent testimony of his disgruntled ex-girlfriend as well as a jailhouse snitch, who both claimed he had confessed to them.
The ex-girlfriend wanted to back out, and was paid $10,000 for her testimony.
Neither the police nor the prosecutors ever disclosed the payments to the defense. Judge Bahakel, before sentencing Montez to death, had signed off on a payment herself. Yet she never told Montez’s trial lawyers about it, and her order authorizing the payment never made it into the court file.