Two convicted in officer's death get new trials

(CHICAGO) -- Two men convicted in the 1995 murder of Chicago Police Officer Daniel Doffyn were granted new trials by a state appellate court on Nov. 17.

The convictions of Jimmie Parker and Clyde Crowley were overturned for the same main reason as triggerman Murray Blue's earlier this year: Prosecutors dressed a headless mannequin in Officer Doffyn's bloody uniform.

Jurors brought the mannequin into the room where they deliberated.

Illinois Supreme Court justices ruled earlier this year that the maneuver prejudiced jurors in Blue's trial. The appellate court ruled last week it also biased the jurors against Parker and Crowley.

Parker and Crowley were with Blue when he first shot at a man who had sold drugs for him, and then shot at Doffyn and Officer Milan Bubalo.

Blue killed Doffyn and injured Bubalo. He initially was sentenced to death, but at his retrial last month escaped with a life sentence.

Parker and Crowley were both sentenced to life. They now will get retrials, too.

The convictions were two of four tossed out this week by the appellate court, largely for errors made by prosecutors.

"The defendant claims he was the victim of prosecutorial excess during his murder trial before a jury. He was," Appellate Justice Warren Wolfson wrote Wednesday in ordering DeAngelo Johnson retried for the 1996 murder of Gary Thomas.

The prosecutor had no right to call Johnson a "convicted felon" at trial because he had never been convicted of a felony, Wolfson wrote.

The day before, the same court threw out the conviction of Roy Fluker in the 1995 murder of Charinida Willford, killed by gunfire as she sat talking on a porch stoop.

"Once again we must decide whether a prosecutor's closing argument requires reversal of a murder conviction. We find that the argument here improperly directed the jury's attention away from the issues," Justice Jill McNulty wrote.

(iSyndicate; Chicago Sun-Times; Nov. 18, 2000) Terms and Conditions: Copyright( 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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