Setback For Imprisoned Man

On June 10, nearly 40 of William Mayo's family members and friends took the bus from Cincinnati to Calhoun County, in southwest Georgia to see if Mayo would be released from prison after spending 13 years behind bars. Lawyers for Mayo, 39, sought to prove that evidence used to convict him of armed robbery has since been discredited.

But after a 20-minute hearing, South Georgia Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Wallace Cato ruled that state and federal courts had already upheld the evidence in Mayo's case.

Cobb County Police claim that in 1992, Mayo and two other men broke into the house of a Smyrna couple, tied them up and stole their credit cards. Mayo was convicted of armed robbery and given two life sentences. He'll be eligible for parole in 2007.

Before the hearing, Mayo told CL he felt this would be the year he would prove his innocence. "What has sustained me all these years is knowing that the truth will come out about this whole case," Mayo said. "I've waited 13 years to prove that I'm an innocent man."

According to Mayo's attorneys, the case against him hinges on evidence that no longer holds water. Two of the men who testified against Mayo at his trial have since said in sworn affidavits that Mayo did not commit the crime. And according to Jeff Brandt, one of Mayo's attorneys, when the victims were shown photos of the three suspects, they were not able to identify Mayo.

Mayo's attorneys also allege that Cobb County Senior Assistant District Attorney Irvan Pearlberg made secret immunity deals with two of the witnesses in the case. The attorneys claim the deals are similar to one Pearlberg made in a 1987 case against Jeffrey Owen, who was convicted on drug charges. The state Supreme Court later overturned Owen's conviction, and he was found not guilty in a subsequent retrial.

A spokeswoman for the Cobb County district attorney's office told CL that Pearlberg would not comment while Mayo's case was pending.

Mayo has another hearing scheduled for July 11 in Cobb County, where his legal team will ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the witnesses who testified at Mayo's trial.

For more info on William Mayo's case, visit www.freemayo.com.??

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