"I would like to
say that I did not kill Bobby Lambert. That I'm an
innocent black man that is being murdered. This is a
lynching that is happening in America tonight. There's
overwhelming and compelling evidence of my defense that
has never been heard in any court of America. What is
happening here is an outrage for any civilized country,
to anybody anywhere to look at what's happening here is
I thank all of the people
that have rallied to my cause. They've been standing in
support of me. Who have finished with me. I say to Mr.
Lambert's family, I did not kill Bobby Lambert. You are
pursuing the execution of an innocent man.
I want to express my
sincere thanks to all of ya'll.
We must continue to move
forward and do everything we can to outlaw legal lynching
We must continue to stay
strong all around the world, and people must come
together to stop the systematic killing of poor and
innocent black people.
We must continue to stand
together in unity and to demand a moratorium on all
executions. We must not let this murder/lynching be
forgotten tonight, my brothers. We must take it to the
nation. We must keep our faith. We must go
We recognize that many
leaders have died. Malcom X, Martin Luther King, and
others who stood up for what was right. They stood up for
what was just. We must, you must brothers, that's why I
have called you today. You must carry on that condition.
What is here is just a lynching that is taking
But they're going to keep
on lynching us for the next 100 years, if you do not
carry on that tradition, and that period of
We will prevail. We may
lose this battle, but we will win the war. This death,
this lynching will be avenged. It will be avenged, it
must be avenged. The people must avenge this murder. So
my brothers, all of ya'll stay strong, continue to move
Know that I love all of
you. I love the people, I love all of you for your
blessing, strength, for your courage, for your dignity,
the way you have come here tonight, and the way you have
protested and kept this nation together. Keep moving
forward, my brothers. Slavery couldn't stop us. The
lynching couldn't stop us in the south. This lynching
will not stop us tonight. We will go forward. Our destiny
in this country is freedom and liberation. We will gain
our freedom and liberation by any means
By any means necessary,
we keep marching forward.
I love you, Mr. Jackson.
Bianca, make sure that the state does not get my body.
Make sure that we get my name as Shaka Sankofa. My name
is not Gary Graham. Make sure that it is properly
presented on my grave. Shaka Sankofa.
I died fighting for what
I believe in. I died fighting for what was just and what
was right. I did not kill Bobby Lambert, and the truth is
going to come out. It will be brought out.
I want you to take this
thing off into international court, Mr.Robert Mohammed
and all ya'll. I want you, I want to get my family and
take this down to international court and file a law
suit. Get all the video tapes of all the beatings. They
have beat me up in the back. They have beat me up at the
unit over there. Get all the video tapes supporting that
law suit. And make the public exposed to the genocide and
this brutality, and let the world see what is really
happening here behind closed doors. Let the world see the
barbarity and injustice of what is really happening here.
You must get those video tapes. You must make it exposed,
this injustice, to the world. You must continue to demand
a moratorium on all executions. We must move
Minister Robert Mohammed,
Ashanti Chimurenga, I love you for standing with me, my
sister. You are a strong warrior Queen. You will continue
to be string in everything that you do. Believe in
yourself, you must hold your head up, in the spirit of
Winnie Mandela, in the spirit of Nelson
Ya'll must move forward.
We will stop this lynching.
Reverend Al Sharpton, I
love you, my brother.
Bianca Jagger, I love all
Ya'll make sure that we
continue to stand together.
Reverend Jesse Jackson,
know that this murder, this lynching will not be
forgotten. I love you, too, my brother.
This is genocide in
America. This is what happens to black men when they
stand up and protest for what is right and just. We
refuse to compromise, we refuse to surrender the dignity
for what we know is right. But we will move on, we have
been strong in the past. We will continue to be strong as
a people. You can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot
stop the revolution.
The revolution will go
on. The people will carry the revolution on. You are the
people that must carry that revolutionary on, in order to
liberate our children from this genocide and for what is
happening here in America tonight. What has happened for
the last 100 or so years in America. This is the part of
the genocide, this is part of the African (unintelligible
[Holocaust ?]), that we as black people have
endured in America. But we shall overcome, we will
continue with this. We will continue, we will gain our
freedom and liberation, by any means necessary. Stay
strong. They cannot kill us. We will move
To my sons, to my
daughters, all of you. I love all of you. You have been
wonderful. Keep your heads up. Keep moving forward. Keep
united. Maintain the love and unity in the community. And
know that victory is assured.
Victory for the people
will be assured. We will gain our freedom and liberation
in this country. We will gain it and we will do it by any
means necessary. We will keep marching. March on black
people. Keep your heads high. March on. All ya'll
leaders. March on. Take your message to the people.
Preach the moratorium for all executions. We're gonna
stop, we are going to end the death penalty in this
country. We are going to end it all across this world.
Push forward people. And know that what ya'll are doing
is right. What ya'll are doing is just.
This is nothing more than
pure and simple murder. This is what is happening tonight
in America. Nothing more than state sanctioned murder,
state sanctioned lynching, right here in America, and
right here tonight. This is what is happening my
brothers. Nothing less. They know I'm innocent. They've
got the facts to prove it. They know I'm innocent. But
they cannot acknowledge my innocence, because to do so
would be to publicly admit their guilt.
This is something these
racist people will never do. We must remember brothers,
this is what we're faced with. You must take this
endeavor forward. You must stay strong. You must continue
to hold your heads up, and to be there. And I love you,
too, my brother. All of you who are standing with me in
We will prevail . . .!
We will keep marching . .
. keep marching black people !
. . . black power
. . . keep marching black
. . . black power
. . . keep marching black
. . . keep marching black
. . . they are killing me
tonight . . .
. . . they are murdering
me tonight . . .
SHAKA SANKOFA (WHO WAS THEN KNOWN AS GARY GRAHAM) DID NOT
RECEIVE A FAIR TRIAL. OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE OF HIS
INNOCENCE WAS NEVER PRESENTED TO THE
BOBBY LAMBERT WAS
MURDERED IN A GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT IN 1981. HIS
DEATH WAS A SENSELESS TRAGEDY. SHOULD WE COMPOUND THAT
WITH ANOTHER TRAGEDY &endash; THE EXECUTION OF AN
THE LACK OF
THERE WAS NO PHYSICAL
EVIDENCE LINKING GARY GRAHAM WITH THE CRIME OR CRIME
Six eyewitnesses could
not identify Gary Graham as the assailant.
Only one eyewitness,
Bernadine Skillern, identified Gary as the man she saw in
the grocery store parking lot.
Ms. Skillern saw the
assailant mostly from the side; she saw him from the
front only for a "split second," from 40 feet away in a
dimly lit parking lot. She described the shooter as clean
shaven with a close, compact, short Afro hairstyle.
Police showed Ms.
Skillern a photo lineup almost one week after the murder.
All the photographed Black males had long Afros and some
had facial hair. Ms. Skillern did not identify anyone.
Ms. Skillern was shown a
second photo lineup including Gary's picture -- 13 days
after the murder. Of 5 photographs in this lineup, only
Gary was both clean-shaven and had a short, compact Afro
hairstyle. The others either had facial hair or a longer
Afro. Gary's photo was the only one with the date of
arrest crossed out, drawing attention to that particular
photograph. Ms. Skillern's identification was not
absolutely positive. She said the photo of Gary looked
like the suspect she saw, "except the complexion of the
suspect she saw was darker and his face was thinner. She
said she could not say that the man in the photo was the
suspect from the photo." (Offense Report)
A live lineup was held
the very next day -- 14 days after the
Gary was the only
constant in the photo lineups and the live lineup shown
to Ms. Skillern. She identified Graham as the assailant.
She then told an officer that she recognized him from the
photo array shown her the previous night. (Offense
EYEWITNESS EXPERTS FIND
THIS PROCEDURE HIGHLY SUGGESTIVE:
is extremely susceptible to manipulation and
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a
nationally known expert in the perils of eyewitness
"In these circumstances,
there is an enhanced likelihood that a witness will
identify the person in the lineup whom she has seen in
the photo spread, whether or not the person is actually
the one whose crime she witnessed. This occurs because
the witness goes to the lineup, and the person whose
photograph was seen before looks familiar. This
familiarity may be mistakenly related back to the crime
rather than back to the photograph where it may properly
belong." (Report by Elizabeth Loftus)
Another eyewitness, Ron
Hubbard, viewed the live lineup but could "not recognize
any of the men on the stage as being the man he saw shoot
Lambert." The jury never heard this. (Offense
SIX other eyewitnesses
did not identify Gary Graham:
Eyewitnesses Wilma Amos,
Ron Hubbard, Sherian Etuk identified the killer as 3-4
inches shorter than Gary or described the killer as
"medium" height. At least one eyewitness even said the
killer was the same height as or shorter than the victim,
Bobby Lambert who was 5'6" tall. Gary Graham is almost
Wilma Amos, who came
closest to the killer as he was running away, says that
the assailant was only a couple inches taller than she
&endash; 5' 2 and 1/2 inches.
Sherian Etuk described the assailant as being less than
5'6" tall and having a slim build. Etuk is six feet tall
and when she first saw the man outside the front of the
store, she could see the top of his head. (1993 Etuk
Ron Hubbard, a Safeway
store employee who saw the assailant hiding behind a pole
in the parking lot and running away after the shooting is
positive that the men he saw in the live lineup,
including Gary Graham, did not fit the killer's physical
description. Hubbard who is 6'1" tall was certain the
killer was much shorter -- 5'5"-- and of slight build.
Eyewitness Daniel Grady
testified at trial, but was NOT asked to identify Gary
Graham as the shooter. (Trial Testimony)
Wilkerson described the shooter as shorter than the
victim Mr. Lambert who was 5'6" tall. Another boy who was
with Wilkerson in the store parking lot saw the shooter
at the house across the street from his cousin's home
after the murder. (1993 Wilkerson Affidavit and Offense
Report) Graham had no ties to this house. (Affidavits of
Florence McDonald and Diane Perry)
Two other eyewitnesses
who were in the grocery store parking lot came forward in
1993. Malcolm and Lorna Stephens gave affidavits stating
that the shooter ran right in front of their car . Mr.
Stephens stated that the shooter was a "young black
compact, but not
[with] short hair, and
[no] beard or anything like that." Ms. Stevens
estimated the assailant's height as less than her husband
who is 5'7" tall. Mr. Stephens saw the shooter again
about a year after the Lambert murder. (1993 Affidavits
of Malcolm and Lorna Stephens)
POLICE DID NOT FOLLOW-UP
LEADS TO THE REAL KILLER AND DEFENSE COUNSEL PRESENTED
NONE OF THE EVIDENCE POINTING TO OTHER
Police had three other
potential suspects -- all with ties to the neighborhood
around the Safeway grocery store. Gary Graham had no ties
to the area.
Defense counsel Ron Mock
failed to use this circumstantial evidence of Graham's
innocence to establish reasonable doubt.
Gary Graham was arrested
on May 20 and confessed to other armed robberies
committed during the same time period as the Lambert
murder. Gary adamantly denied committing the Lambert
murder and has always maintained his innocence of that
crime. Nevertheless, police focused on him as the chief
suspect after his arrest, neglecting to resolve the
following potential leads.
Just days after the
murder, a witness came forward saying that the killer was
a man who frequently visited the house across the street
from this witness and her family and that her nephew had
seen this man after witnessing the Lambert murder.
(Offense Report and 1993 Affidavit of Wilkerson) Police
stopped pursuing this lead and two others after Gary was
arrested on May 20.
A truck driver told
police he saw a car of young Black men acting suspicious
in the vicinity of the Safeway grocery store just after
the murder. The driver of this car was a young man whose
brothers were taken into custody for another murder
around the time of Mr. Lambert's murder. These young men
used a .22 caliber gun, the same caliber used in the
Lambert murder. A firearms examiner said it was
"possible" the Lambert bullet matched the bullet from
this other murder. (Offense Report) Police stopped
pursuing this lead after Gary was arrested on May 20.
The Safeway manager told
police that the composite looked like a young Black man
he had had arrested for shoplifting just months before
and who had recently been hanging around the Safeway
again. This young man frequently wore a light colored
sports jacket that matched the description of what
Lambert's killer wore. (Offense Report) Police never
followed up this lead after Gary was arrested
QUESTIONABLE POLICE OR
Eyewitness Sherian Etuk
gave police a written statement. (1993 Etuk Interview)
This statement has never been turned over to defense
Eyewitness Daniel Grady
was sitting in his car in the store parking lot. The
confrontation between the assailant and Mr. Lambert took
place right next to Grady's car. Mr. Lambert fell onto
the hood of Grady's car after he was shot. Mr. Grady
testified at trial but was not asked to identify Mr.
Graham as the assailant. (Trial Transcript) Mr. Grady has
since died but his wife says he viewed a live lineup in
1981. (1993 Peggy Grady Interview) This is likely
considering Grady's proximity to the crime, but police
have never turned over any report of this lineup. IS THIS
BECAUSE MR. GRADY FAILED TO IDENTIFY GARY GRAHAM AS THE
Eyewitness Ron Hubbard
attended a live lineup with eyewitness Bernadine
Skillern. After the lineup, he overheard police tell
Skillern she had picked out the suspect they thought did
the crime. At trial, police did not testify to this
improper bolstering of Skillern. (1993 Affidavit of
In 1993, prosecutors did
not turn over the police Offense Report or other
information in their files to Graham's appellate
attorneys until reminded by the state Attorney General
that disclosure was mandatory. By the time the Offense
Report was produced by the Harris County DA, the state
trial court had already recommended that Graham's state
habeas application be denied. It was too late to include
any information from the Harris County files in Mr.
GARY GRAHAM'S LAWYER --
INCOMPETENT AND INEFFECTIVE LEGAL
Gary's lawyer believed he
was guilty and insinuated to his own investigator that
Gary was guilty. Because they assumed Gary was guilty
from the start, neither the lawyer nor the investigator
gave the case the same attention they would have for a
client they believed was innocent. (1993 Affidavit of
investigator Mervin West.)
Gary's lawyer failed to
call five alibi witnesses who came forward to testify
that Gary was with them at the time of the murder. The
investigator never talked to any of these alibi witnesses
to confirm or corroborate their stories. One of these
alibi witnesses, Lorraine Johnson, went to Gary's trial,
and told Defense Lawyer Ron Mock that she was there to
testify. Mock barely spoke to her and never called her as
a witness. While she waited in the courthouse hallway,
Johnson watched Mock joke and socialize with the
prosecutor and prosecution witnesses. Johnson passed a
lie detector test confirming her version of having been
with Graham at the time of the Lambert murder and the
circumstances of making herself available at the
courthouse to testify. (1993 Affidavit of Johnson)
Merv West talked to two
of the other eyewitnesses who could not identify Graham
as the killer. Defense counsel's files have no record of
which two eyewitnesses were interviewed. Yet, neither the
investigator nor defense counsel ever attempted to talk
to any other eyewitnesses to use their testimony to
undermine Skillern's identification at trial. (1993
Affidavit of investigator West.)
The defense lawyer's
cross-examination of the lone eyewitness who identified
Gary as the assailant was very weak and unproductive. As
discussed above, Ron Mock never used any of the
information about the suggestiveness of the photo and
live lineup identification to cast doubt on Ms.
Skillern's certainty. Defense counsel did nothing to
point out to the jury why it was unlikely that Ms.
Skillern could be as confident as she appeared to be
about her identification. Mock did nothing to point out
how her identification of Graham was suggested by the way
police showed her the photo lineup. He did nothing to
undermine her certainty by introducing evidence of the
other eyewitnesses who could not positively identify
Graham although they were closer to the scene than was
Skillern and all had consistency about the assailant's
height which cast doubt on Skillern's
Gary was arrested with a
.22 caliber pistol in his possession; this gun did not
match the gun which shot Mr. Lambert. Gary's defense
attorney never introduced the evidence of the police
weapons analyst stating the weapon did not match the one
used to kill Mr. Lambert.
A MOST DAMAGING ERROR BY
But, one of defense
counsel's most egregious and damaging errors went like
In front of the jury, Ron
Mock identified his own client, the defendant Gary
Graham, as the killer at least three times while
cross-examining Bernadine Skillern.
Question by Defense
Counsel: "...according to your testimony, [Mr.
Lambert] would have been to the defendant's left at
the time they first had an encounter?" (Tr. p.
Question by Defense
Counsel: "All right, so you had seen the defendant's
right side when you [sic] first approached him?"
(Tr. p. 375)
Question by Defense
Counsel: "I think your testimony was that as you blew
your horn, he turned his head toward you for a split
"Meaning Mr. Graham?"
Defense Counsel: "Yes,
ma'am." (Tr. 378)
Defense Counsel Ron
Failed to investigate or
interview potential eyewitnesses whose testimony
exonerated Mr. Graham;
Failed to present to the
jury circumstantial evidence of other suspects who were
more likely Bobby Lambert's killer;
Failed to interview or
present to the jury alibi witnesses who were with Graham
at the time of the crime.
Failed to use any of this
evidence to challenge Skillern, the lone eyewitness
linking Graham to the crime.
DEFENSE COUNSEL'S BELIEF
IN HIS CLIENT'S GUILT ROBBED GARY GRAHAM OF A VIABLE
DEFENSE AND DEPRIVED THE JURY OF THE CHANCE TO FIND
"REASONABLE DOUBT" BASED ON THE COMBINED EFFECT OF THIS
EVIDENCE. THE JURY NEVER HEARD THE FULL