On October 22, 1991, when 17 year old Chedell Williams and a friend went to Fern Rock subway station in North Philadelphia, 2 men approached them and demanded Chedell’s earrings. She refused and ran. One of the men chased her to nearby 10th Street and Nedro Avenue, where he snatched the earrings and shot her in the throat. Her friend was left unharmed. The 2 men joined a 3rd man who was waiting in a 1978 Chevy Malibu. Chedell died at a hospital less than an hour later.
The pressure was on the police and prosecutors to solve the crime, when some local “stick-up boys” named 21 year old, burgeoning R&B vocalist Jimmy Dennis as a potential culprit. Hearing of this, Mr. Dennis went to the police to confront the rumors, maintaining that he was on a bus miles away at the time of the murder with eye witnesses to corroborate his claim.
Neither the gun nor earrings were ever recovered. No forensic evidence tying Dennis to the crime was ever developed, and evidence and eyewitness accounts that proved his innocence were suppressed. In this emotional interview, we hear the story of a promising musical career curtailed and a 25 year long battle with a wrongful conviction from death row.