Darrell Lomax was in the backseat of a car that was pulled over for an illegal lane change. When two handguns were found in the car, Lomax suddenly found himself subjected to a curbside gunshot residue test, which took two hours. He passed—no evidence was found that he’d recently fired a gun. During the course of the traffic stop, several patrol cars brought to the scene witnesses of two earlier crimes, asking if Lomax was involved. None of the witnesses implicated him in either incident. Along with the driver and other passenger of the vehicle, Lomax was still arrested and charged in connection with two armed robberies, one of which ended in the fatal shooting of Nasser Akbar.
Lomax was held from September 1, 1994, until March 13, 1995. On that morning, all charges against Lomax were dropped, but the case against him proceeded anyway, even though the prosecution did not formally refile the complaint or rearrest Lomax. This was technically a violation of the penal code, but Lomax wasn’t informed that the charges had briefly been dropped until years later. In the meantime, he was found guilty, based largely on the testimony of Angela Toler, the other passenger in the vehicle Lomax had been riding in. Toler recieved a lighter sentence in return for her testimoney.
No physical evidence connects Lomax to the murder of Nasser Akbar. No gunshot residue was found on him at the time and his fingerprints were not on either gun. A surviving witness to the robbery stated that there were two assailants: a woman, and a man with dreadlocks, which Lomax did not have. Another witness cleared Lomax in the initial field identification, but later changed his story to match Toler’s. In return, the authorities dropped $1,600 in unpaid parking tickets and a charge for possession of an unregistered handgun against the witness (the official explanation was that authorities were eager to prevent the witness from going to prison, where his life might have been in danger). Prior to the trial, the witness never gave any descriptions that matched Lomax.
Darrell Lomax has been on death row since 1995.