7 men will be retried for 1984 murder of young mom

WASHINGTON – Seven men have been serving nearly three decades in prison for beating a young mother to death in broad daylight in D.C. They’ve always claimed their innocence.

Twenty-seven years later, they’re getting a new trial.

Catherine Fuller was dragged behind Riggs Bank on H street NE and murdered in 1984. Nearly a dozen people stood trial for the crime while Fuller’s family members watched from the courtroom.

Seven men were sentenced to between 12 years and life in prison.

Many of the men convicted are still behind bars. But they say prosecutors forced some witnesses to lie and coerced confessions from others.

Now, they’ll have a chance to have their convictions overturned. A local judge thinks there’s enough evidence that the men may be innocent and enough questions about the original trial to bring the case back to a D.C. courtroom.

On Monday, the defendants, the original prosecutors and detectives as well as the witnesses will have to tell their stories again.

The defendants say police and prosecutors ignored evidence that someone else committed the murder. And at least one witness now says he lied at the original trial because he was afraid of police.

The case is expected to take up to four weeks.

WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Mark Segraves and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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