Three Former Fort Stewart Soldiers Finally Taste Freedom After 25 Years in Prison
Three former Fort Stewart soldiers that spent 25 years in prison for something their attorneys say they didn’t do, are finally free. Dominic Lucci, Mark Jones and Kenneth Gardiner who had been stationed at Fort Stewart, will not receive a new trial after being incarcerated in 1992 for the death of a black man.
The Georgia Supreme Court found that the three soldiers were not given a police report that would have shown they were likely not the correct suspects. That left the prospect of a new trial up to the prosecutor, who decided against it after this long.
On January 31, 1992, Stanley Jackson was standing on a street corner in Savannah, Georgia when he was slain at around 10 p.m. with what was described as a “semi-automatic assault type weapon.”
The three Fort Stewart soldiers had gone out the night before Jones’ wedding for an impromptu bachelor’s party. They were arrested shortly after the shooting. They ended up spending the better part of their lives in prison.
The Army Times reported:
No physical evidence tied them to the shooting, and their lawyers called the evidence against them extremely weak. After leaving the rehearsal, there was no way they could have made it to the scene of the killing at the time it happened, one of their lawyers, their defense lawyers said.
An eyewitness, James White, later admitted that he hadn’t gotten a good look at the shooters and was pressured to identify the soldiers at trial.
In November, the Georgia Supreme Court found that prosecutors failed to give the defense a police report describing an incident hours after the men were arrested. A witness had told police that white men with military style haircuts and semi-automatic weapons drove through a public housing project that night threatening “to shoot blacks who hung out on street corners.”
The Court stated that the police report would have “clearly” been helpful to the defense.
“It would have been really the critical piece of evidence because this was a one eyewitness case with no forensic evidence at all connecting my clients to the crime. They had the perfect alibi — they’re sitting there being questioned by detectives at the very time these other folks are out terrorizing the black community.” Peter Camiel, attorney
Featured photo: L to R – Dominic Lucci, Mark Jones and Kenneth Gardiner.