Charges Dropped in Homicide Case, Alleged Police Error
Eddie Gill was charged in the shooting death that occurred Feb. 3, 2013 - despite adamant denial of involvement. Charges were dropped after incriminating evidence was suppressed due to Gill's disabilities.
Online, March 15, 2014 (Newswire.com) - On Feb. 16, 2013, Eddie Gill was charged in the shooting death of Jordin Crawley that occurred Feb. 3, 2013 outside of the Futuristic Nightclub on the 1800 block of Greenfield Ave - despite adamant denial of involvement. The case ended in a dismissal after Gill's confession was suppressed due to police coercion during a lengthy interrogation that followed 3 days of almost constant questioning, according to interrogation transcripts. The dismissal came March 13, 2014 allowing Gill to be free after 13 months in jail.
Attorney John A. Birdsall believes this case highlights possible problems within the justice system that can carry enormous implications for all citizens of Milwaukee. "The deliberate decision to focus on the low hanging fruit of a mildly retarded witness while ignoring the fact that two hooded assassins would go free is unconscionable," said John A. Birdsall, Gill's defense attorney
Gill and the Case:
Police records state that on February 12, 2013, Gill voluntarily came to the police station under the pretense of being a possible witness, but "inconsistencies" in his information lead to his arrest that same day. Even though Gill was not involved, he made incriminating statements while being interrogated after nearly 3 days in custody despite requesting an attorney several times. A motion to suppress the confession from attorney John A. Birdsall was granted by Judge Stephanie Rothstein on Feb. 25, 2014. The suppression was granted due to police coercion and because the detectives did not fully honor his request for a lawyer and pressured Gill to continue speaking.
When looking at transcripts, the 40-hour integration of the 19-year-old can be considered case of abuse of police power, especially when Gill's cognitive abilities are considered. Gill was ruled incompetent on two separate occasions before this case and has a reported IQ of 70. According to transcripts from the interrogation process, Gill asked for a polygraph test. The test was administered and the detective told Gill that he had failed. Defense experts demonstrated that someone of Gill's cognitive level is incapable of providing a conclusive polygraph test. According to interrogation room transcripts, the detective also lied to Gill and claimed witnesses identified him as the shooter. There were, in fact, no such witness statements.
In another example of alleged police error, police reports from witnesses who were interviewed a year before, were written only a few days before the trial started. According to court records, this prompted Judge Rothstein to order the detectives and their supervisors into court on Feb. 21, 2014 to explain the tardiness and inaccuracy of their reports. The judge personally questioned the detectives on the accuracy of the content after being written almost a year after the fact. The reports were also scrutinized for other mistakes such as spelling and grammatical errors. The detectives defended their reports, citing human error due to the current influx of homicide cases at that time, giving them a huge workload.
According to court records, Birdsall requested that the judge dismiss the case "with prejudice" because the state had no other evidence of Gill's involvement and he had been in custody for 13 months on the case. The judge dismissed the case but allowed for the possibility that the state could re-charge because, she explained, circuit courts do not possess the authority for such an order before a jury trial. "The state has evidence of what the shooters looked like and the description doesn't match Mr. Gill. Moreover, there was no gun recovered, nor any witnesses that said Mr. Gill was involved in any shooting. However, there was evidence that one of the guns that was used in this shooting was involved in another shooting 2 months later when Mr. Gill was at the Winnebago Mental Health Institution after being found incompetent to stand trial in February, 2013," Birdsall stated.
Birdsall Law Offices released the following statement on behalf of Mr. Gill:
"Mr. Gill is very happy to have been ordered released after 13 months in police custody, including 4 months at the Winnebago Mental Health Institution. He continues to maintain his complete innocence in the shooting of Jordin Crawley, as he has done from the beginning. On February 12, 2013, detectives asked him to come to the Police Administration Building as a witness and he never left. The outrageous police conduct of arresting him on a trumped up charge, and interrogating him during 4 lengthy sessions over 40 hours while being held incommunicado, despite his multiple demands to see an attorney, should be condemned. Unfortunately, the MPD administration stands by their "investigation" despite being roundly criticized by a circuit court judge. It is Mr. Gill's hope that some disciplinary action is taken against the detectives involved and that changes are made as to how detectives are trained to conduct interrogations. He would also like to know if there will be any attempt by the state to compensate him for the 13 months of his life that he lost while this case was pending."
State of Wisconsin vs. Eddie G Gill
Milwaukee County Case Number 2013CF000617