Nekemar Pearson allegedly went missing on June 25, 1995. James Evans was subsequently convicted of his murder on that date, on the basis of confessions he purportedly made to jailhouse informants, who claimed that Evans confessed that he beat Pearson so severely that he broke his hand in the process. However a medical examination established that in fact his hand had not been broken after a documented fracture in 1993. The trial testimony of the state’s witnesses changed from their grand jury testimony.
State witnesses Tommie Rounds, Demond Spruill, and Larry Greer testified that Evans had confessed. Spruill was a serial informant according to an appeal ruling. Greer was a drug addict and admitted liar, who police officials paid cash for his false testimony, and threatened him with arrest if he didn’t cooperate.
Further, in 2001 a state appellate defender discovered highly exculpatory Brady evidence : a police officer observed Pearson and another youth walking down the street on July 3, 1995 (ten days after Pearson allegedly went missing). The officer was certain that it was Pearson, because he was a liaison officer at the Alton high school where Pearson attended, and the officer had several encounters with him.