Court records made public this week show defense lawyers who uncovered an apparent conspiracy of lies between two state witnesses in a murder trial are expanding their search for other dishonest witnesses.
On Monday, Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle dropped murder charges against Kareem Turner after conceding at least one, and maybe two, state witnesses committed perjury. That lie was discovered not by Turner’s defense investigators, but by the team defending Turner’s former co-defendant, Raymond Lewis Perry. But because Turner’s case shared some of the same witnesses, and because Turner’s case was heard first, Perry’s team alerted Turner’s lawyers that they’d discovered a state witnesses had lied.
Now Perry’s attorneys have asked for more jailhouse phone records, going back to 2010 when Perry was arrested for a robbery spree. They’re asking for phone records from Perry’s co-defendant in that violent spree, Wade Watford. Perry told NewsChannel 3 in 2012 that Watford told police Perry was involved in the murder of off-duty Norfolk officer Victor Decker. Perry has maintained that Watford and others are “jailhouse liars” looking to help themselves at his expense.
Prosecutors have relied on a series of felons as witnesses in both cases. The felons either said they saw Perry and Turner in the Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club Parking lot when Decker was slain, or that the men confessed to the murder in private conversations. Lawyers for both Turner and Perry contended the felons were trading their cooperation for reduced sentences, and they were lying to get the breaks.
Perry’s defense lawyers also asked for the jailhouse phone records of Aaron Lundy, a man with a long history of credit-card fraud. He earlier testified that Turner lamented that police found his fingerprints on the murder weapon. That wasn’t true because police have never found the gun used to kill Decker, and prosecutors have conceded there is no DNA or forensic evidence that linked either man to the crime.
Perry’s trial has been pushed back to October. He faces the death penalty.