SHAUN KING: Stopping the Wrongful Conviction of Christopher Kearney Before It Actually Happens

On a daily basis, I receive an assortment of emails, letters, texts, and DM’s from incarcerated men and women and their families about their wrongful convictions. I can hardly stand to even read them — knowing that I will likely not have the time, space, energy, and resources to give them the help they need and deserve. I am currently fighting regularly for two men that I believe were wrongly convicted and just lost a battle to stop the execution of Nate Woods in Alabama.

But right now, I am about to take on a case that’s different than any case I’ve ever fought for before. Instead of trying to reverse a wrongful conviction, we are forming a team to stop one from happening in the first place.

In 2017, a young man named Daniel Salcido was shot and killed in Pomona, California — a suburb inside Los Angeles County. Multiple witnesses at the scene of the shooting have said they saw a light-skinned Black man commit the crime. That alone should close this case for Christopher Kearney, whose skin is unmistakably jet black and always has been. He has never, a single day in his life, been a light-skinned man.

Christopher is a beloved husband, father, and upstanding citizen. He had no motive for committing such a crime, had an alibi for where he was when it happened, and has declared his innocence from the day he was arrested.

None of the witnesses involved have ever affirmatively identified Christopher Kearney as the shooter, but one witness, who was also a suspect in the case, identified himself as Derrick Bridges.

Derrick Bridges was initially a suspect in the case and admitted that he only testified for the prosecution due not only to consistent harassment from the police, but also because he was given an offer of leniency related to other pending criminal charges. He also indicated that many of his statements were given under the influence of PCP after having not slept for two weeks.

Treasure Truman, Derrick’s girlfriend’s sister, provided statements to the police only after she was informed that her car was spotted leaving the scene of the crime. It was only after multiple rounds of police harassment and coercion that she agreed to testify for the prosecution.

One witness picked another man, Marshaun Logan, out of a photo lineup and identified him as the shooter. Logan actually matched the physical description of the suspect provided by other witnesses and owned a car matching the description of the vehicle at the scene of the shooting.

The police swiftly eliminated him as a suspect because his phone pinged in the city of Fontana, where he claimed to have attended a birthday party. He showed a video of the party, although he did not appear in the video. Whether Marshaun was guilty or not, the lack of a thorough investigation into alternate suspects undermines the credibility of the entire case.

So here we are, with a man in jail — awaiting trial — for a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with.

I am a part of the team that started for us to help fight for his freedom. We are currently raising funds for his legal defense. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office tried this horrible case before, and got a mistrial, but is trying to convict Christopher one more time. His case is supposed to begin next month (April), but we have no idea if the coronavirus pandemic will cause delays in his case. Either way, we are prepared to support him and hope you will join us.