India Spellman Was Wrongfully Convicted When She Was Just 17

On October 6, India Spellman was meant to have an evidentiary hearing for a potential retrial. In Philadelphia, a group of supporters passed as a result of the courthouse’s steel detectors to fill the benches. A lot of wore T-shirts declaring Spellman’s innocence. The courtroom was so crowded that some ended up compelled to stand. There was just a person man or woman lacking: India Spellman.

Twelve decades ago, when she was just 17, Spellman was accused and then convicted of a murder for which she had an alibi. She has been incarcerated at any time considering the fact that. Shortly just after her sentence was finalized, Spellman began to appeal—a method that, to this working day, has been riddled with delays. Previous month’s hold off transpired because the judge did not know Spellman experienced been transferred to a prison facility a few hrs absent. Hence, he by no means placed an purchase to have her transported back for the listening to.

“Every one 1 of these delays is devastating for India’s loved ones and loved kinds. Each and every single hold off is justice denied,” Dr. Jill McCorkel, a Villanova professor who’s been advocating for Spellman, reported. The hearing is now scheduled for November 10.

Spellman was a homebody. Her grandfather, a former Philadelphia police officer, has explained her as such. At 17, her immediately after-school activities included homework, enjoying basketball (she dreamed of building it to the WNBA), and lounging at dwelling. From the couch, she’d bop among Facebook and cellphone phone calls. On the afternoon of August 18, 2010, she was undertaking just that. In accordance to court docket data, a boy stopped by and then remaining. But Spellman, true to character, stayed dwelling.

The same working day, two folks robbed a girl in Philadelphia. About an hour afterwards, they shot and killed an elderly male in his driveway. Then, they ran. Law enforcement suspected 1 of the perpetrators to be a boy named Von Combs—the boy who experienced stopped by Spellman’s put that afternoon. During the program of the investigation, he allegedly named Spellman. Soon after, she was arrested.

According to mobile cellular phone data, Spellman was on the telephone when the murder happened. Her father and grandfather have also signed affidavits testifying that she was home. And still, she was tried using and convicted of 2nd-diploma murder, theft, conspiracy, and violations of the Uniform Firearms Act. She was sentenced to 30 years to everyday living.

When Spellman was arrested in 2010, she was taken to the Roundhouse—a concrete fortress reminiscent of the Colosseum. Inside, she was interrogated by detectives, which include a gentleman named James Pitts. According to Spellman, Pitts—a guy of important stature—physically assaulted and psychologically abused her in the course of questioning. Pitts has a monitor document of violencetogether with 11 citizen grievances, five inside investigations, two allegations of intimate spouse violence, and 6 lawsuits (settled for a whole of $1 million).

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