Raymond Carter (convict)

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Raymond Carter achieved notoriety for being the subject of a murder case that arose in the aftermath of the 39th District corruption scandal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, resulting in his release from prison on December 30, 1996. Key figures in his conviction (and release) were PPD officer Thomas Ryan and Pamela Jenkins, who also played roles in the more famous trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Synopsis[edit]

Carter, a former heroin dealer, was sentenced in 1988 to life imprisonment for the slaying of Robert "Puppet" Harris, of North Gratz Street, at the Pike Bar in North Philadelphia on September 18, 1986. His conviction was secured largely on the testimony of one Pamela Jenkins, who testified that she saw Carter pick up a gun and fire at Harris from a distance of about three feet.

Ten years later, as Ryan's reputation began to unravel after his conviction on a federal corruption charge related to the 39th district scandal, Jenkins came forward and asserted that she had been paid $500 by a group of PPD officers, including Ryan, to testify against Carter. This resulted in Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph I. Papalini throwing out Carter's first-degree murder conviction in late 1996, stating that it was simply impossible to determine whether Carter had killed Harris, and ordering a new trial.

Aftermath[edit]

The fact of Jenkins's reversal of testimony in the Raymond Carter case coming to light during the PCRA appellate hearings in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case led to her 1982 testimony being re-evaluated as well. In particular, in 1997, lawyers for Abu-Jamal produced an affidavit by Jenkins stating that Ryan had repeatedly pressured her to provide false testimony against Abu-Jamal, and corroborating the testimony of Cynthia White that she had also been coerced into providing false testimony.

References[edit]

  • Mark Fazlollah, "Man to walk in tainted murder case", Philadelphia Inquirer, December 28, 1996