Troy Burner spent more than 24 years of his 46 years of life (at the time of his release) incarcerated for crimes he did not commit. He has consistently maintained his innocence. Troy was wrongfully convicted as an aider and abettor in the April 1990 shooting death of Michael Wilson. His conviction rested on paper-thin evidence, namely the ever-changing story of a cooperating witness, Antoine Payton, who falsely testified to Troy’s (and his own) presence at the crime scene, hoping for leniency in his own murder case.
Payton has since recanted his false trial testimony. In addition, the two actual culprits, Nathaniel Harrod and Louis McCoy, who have admitted their guilt, have confirmed that Troy was not involved; and alibi witnesses, Michael Tanner and Ronnell Lewis, testified to confirm that Troy was elsewhere at the time of the crime. Coupled with the prior accounts of three eyewitnesses who saw only two assailants (not three) and the ballistics evidence from the crime scene, all of this newly discovered evidence conclusively debunks Payton’s false testimony.
In 2018, Troy was released on parole, thanks to the work of our co-counsel at Venable (MAIP Board Chair Seth Rosenthal and Lauren Stocks-Smith), Eddie Ellis with the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth, and MAIP Counsel Frances Walters. We are still fighting for Troy’s full exoneration.
UPDATE MARCH 2020: A D.C. Superior Court judge granted Troy Burner’s Innocence Protection Act claim, awarding him a new trial based on evidence of his innocence. We will learn in June whether the government intends to retry him.