Reggie Cole

County of Conviction:

Convicted of:





case details

Reggie Cole was wrongfully convicted of murder based on eyewitness misidentification and official misconduct. He spent more than 16 years in prison as an innocent man.

Reggie Cole was found guilty primarily due to the testimony of John Jones who said he saw Cole shoot Felipe Angeles. John lived in the apartment directly in front of where the shooting occurred. John said he saw Cole shoot Angeles and then saw Cole either fall and hurt his leg or get shot in the leg by someone else as he ran away. Using this information, the police began searching for a suspect with leg injuries in local hospitals, and two days later, Arthur Jones (no relation to John Jones), who worked at a hospital, said he saw a man with a leg injury and later identified Cole as the man from the hospital.

No one questioned John and Arthur’s testimonies until 2007 when Reggie faced the death penalty for killing Eddie Eugene Clark (also known as “The Devil”) in self-defense during a prison fight in 2000. After a five-year investigation, Cole’s lawyer, Christopher Plourd, was able to prove that much of John’s testimony was made up, and important evidence that could prove Reggie’s innocence was kept from Reggie’s defense team.

Christopher Plourd also discovered articles written by an author named Miles Corwin in 1995 and 1997 that talked about the police investigation into Reggie’s case and new evidence that pointed to Cole’s innocence. In 2007, Judge Donal B. Donnelly decided to hold a hearing to consider the new evidence.

During the hearing, John admitted he didn’t tell the truth to the police because he was running a prostitution business at the time. He said he didn’t see the crime happen himself but got the description of the shooter from his daughters who saw the suspects from her window. One of his daughters, T.J., said she saw the shooter on the night of the crime and again on April 11, 1994. But, Cole was already in jail for another crime by that date. Also, John said a detective told him Cole had a bullet wound in his leg before the trial, which made him sure Cole was the shooter. Cole did have a leg wound, but it was from years before the crime. John told investigators that if Cole “was not shot that night, he ain’t the man” who committed the crime.

In 2007, Judge Donnelly agreed Cole didn’t get a fair trial and struck the underlying conviction stating that Cole received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel.  At the same time, Reggie Cole was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter for killing Eddie Eugene Clark.  At that point, Reggie had already served more than a decade for a murder he did not commit.

In 2009, Cole’s attorneys filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that Cole’s trial lawyer failed to investigate and failed to present evidence of Cole’s innocence, the prosecution failed to turn over exculpatory evidence, and alleged prosecutorial misconduct. The District Attorney conceded to the petition, and Reggie’s murder conviction was vacated.

Christopher Plourd said, “Reggie Cole’s 15-year nightmare of unjust captivity ends with the dismissal of murder charges thatt brought him face to face with the death penalty. Justice, though long denied, has been realized through a search for the truth and the support of his loving family and determined supporters.”

Justin Brooks, one of the lead attorneys on Cole’s case, said, “Mr. Cole is ecstatic, his family is ecstatic, this is a great day.”

Attorneys Mike Semanchik, Raquel Barilla, and Audrey McGinn were successful in getting Cole declared factually innocent in 2015.

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