Lawsuit of exonerated man moves forward against Louisville
A lawsuit filed against the city of Louisville by a man exonerated after serving 14 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit will go forward.
U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson ruled that the man, Kerry Porter, had “compelling evidence” that police possessed information that someone else, Juan Leotis Sanders, had murdered truck driver Tyrone Camp— even as authorities pointed the finger at Porter. That information was never turned over to Porter’s defense team.
Porter has sued the City of Louisville and eight police officers claiming the police fabricated evidence, used improper identification procedures, and hid evidence that would prove his innocence.
Witnesses, including Camp’s brother, have said they offered police evidence suggesting that Sanders was the killer, but police ignored them.
One former Louisville police officer who was a childhood friend of Porter’s said she brought a witness to detectives who said he’d told Sanders how to make a homemade silencer similar to the one at the crime scene. But prosecutors and police also ignored that evidence.
Instead, during the trial, police and prosecutors argued that Porter had killed Camp because he was jealous of him for marrying Cecilia. The two had previously dated and had a child.
Porter was arrested after Ken Brown, another truck driver, saw a man running from the scene. Brown told police he only saw the man’s back, yet later identified Porter from a police photo lineup. But Camp’s brother, Jerome Camp, had shown Brown a picture of Porter the day before he did the lineup, which tainted the identification. Jerome Camp later testified that his sister had given him the picture of Porter, and asked him to show it to Brown in the hopes of framing Porter for the crime.
Porter, who is now 52, was ordered released in 2011 after it was discovered that a police informant told authorities that Sanders had offered him $50,000 to kill Camp and later bragged that he’d done the murder himself. Police did not disclose this information to Porter’s defense lawyers for many years after his conviction.
Sanders was having an affair with Camp’s wife, Cecilia, and married her after Tyrone Camp’s death. (Sanders was later convicted of a separate manslaughter.)
Cecilia Camp and Juan Sanders have denied killing Tyrone Camp and invoked their fifth amendment right against incrimination when Porter sought their depositions in the civil suit he’s filed against the city.
The case could prove embarrassing for many city officials, especially the elected prosecutor in Louisville, Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney Thomas Wine. It was Wine who, then a Jefferson County Circuit judge, sentenced Porter to 60 years in prison in 1997.
Wine was recently deposed in Porter’s civil suit and said that he still believes Porter is guilty—even though his predecessor, then-Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel, ordered Porter’s conviction thrown out in 2011. Wine became Jefferson County’s chief elected prosecutor in 2013.
Wine’s office has recused itself from the case because of his previous role as the judge. Hardin Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young is now the special prosecutor.