Larry Griffin

Larry Griffin

"For the football player of the same name see Larry Griffin (football player)."

Larry Griffin (September 23, 1954 – June 21, 1995) was sentenced to death for the murder of 19-year-old Quintin Moss. The crime occurred in St. Louis, Missouri on the afternoon of June 26, 1980.

Moss was killed in a drive-by shooting while allegedly dealing drugs on a street corner.


The conviction was based largely on the testimony of Robert Fitzgerald, who had been at the scene of the killing. He testified at trial that he saw three black males in the car from which the shots were fired and that he could identify Griffin as one of them. He testified that Griffin shot at the victim through the window of a car with his right hand. Griffin’s lawyer, a recent law school graduate, had never tried a murder case. The lawyer did not challenge this testimony, even though Griffin was left-handed.

Griffin’s fingerprints were not found on the car or weapons; All other evidence against him was circumstantial. Evidence suggests that Fitzgerald was promised a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony, but the jury was not provided with this information. Fitzgerald later recanted his testimony. He said the investigating officers showed him a photograph of Griffin and told him, "We know this man is involved." Fitzgerald was then presented with five photos from which he identified Griffin. His lawyer failed to investigate an alibi witness prior to trial. The prosecution was able to bring out that the alibi witness had erred about the day he and Griffin had been together, thus making it appear that the alibi had been fabricated.

The prosecution failed to reveal that there were two additional eyewitnesses who confirmed that Griffin was not involved in the murder. The first testified that he witnessed the shooting, and he did not recognize any of the three men who killed the victim. He knew Griffin and was certain that Griffin was not in the car with the shooters. The other witness, a 16-year-old member of a gang led by Griffin's brother at the time of the murder, also testified that Larry Griffin was not involved in the shooting and named the three men who were all members of the gang led by Griffin's dead brother. He was able to describe the exact sequence of events leading to Moss' murder and to testify to the killers' motive. He also was able to identify correctly the place where the car and guns had been abandoned and later found by the police.


Appeals courts upheld his conviction and death sentence. Griffin was executed by lethal injection on June 21, 1995. Griffin maintained his innocence right up to his execution.

Re-opened investigation

After Griffin's execution, his case was reopened by Samuel R. Gross, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. The 2005 post-execution investigation was sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In the investigation, Griffin was found innocent. []

ee also

* List of individuals executed in Missouri
* Capital punishment in the United States

External links

* [ Article on the Web]
* [ Editorial from NY Times]
* [ Article from NY Times]
* [ Equal Justice]
* [ Did Missouri execute an innocent man?] . "MSNBC" (2005-07-12). "Retrieved on 2007-11-20.
* [ Missouri death sentence case gets another look] . "MSNBC" (2005-08-05). "Retrieved on 2007-11-20.

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