Case Summary

1. Abu Ali, formerly known as James Lee Jones, suffered extreme abuse and neglect as a child. Throughout his infancy and beyond, Abu Ali was beaten regularly, tied up, locked in a closet, etc. by his father. His mother would not intervene and protect Abu Ali and neglected Abu Ali and his siblings. He had no refuge from the abuse and neglect that he suffered at home. Abu Ali's sister has attempted suicide several times, is mentally ill, and institutionalized. His only other full sibling, his brother, committed suicide. His half-siblings were abandoned in the woods by his mother to be rescued by strangers.

2. Beyond his infancy, Abu Ali ran away from home as early as he could. He has not seen his parents since 1968. He was arrested in 1969, while in the military, during a racial incident involving himself and other African-Americans in an altercation with a white soldier in which money was apparently taken from the white officer. Abu Ali was charged with robbery. While in custody in a youth reformatory for this incident, Abu Ali stabbed an inmate to prevent his being the victim of a homosexual assault, for which he was charged with murder. Although his attorney presented the testimony of a psychiatrist who established an insanity defense for Abu-Ali, he actually did little for Abu Ali in his defense. Abu Ali's trial lasted one day and no appeal was taken from the conviction for 2nd degree murder. Since 1969, Abu Ali has been free from custody for less than three years. While in custody Abu Ali almost continuously endured mistreatment and exploitation. Partially because he was short, slight, and light-skinned, Abu Ali was the regular object of sexual assaults while in custody. He was moved from institution to institution for his protection and often would check himself into voluntary segregation for self-protection.

3. Abu Ali is mentally ill, largely due to his life of abuse and deprivation. He has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. Given this condition, in times of stress he may dissociate, i.e. blackout. He has never received any treatment for his mental illness. Consistent with his diagnosis, Abu Ali has always maintained that, though he was present with Harold Devalle Miller when Patrick Daniels, the victim in this case, was lethally assaulted, he does not recall the assault on Daniels. A woman, Norma Norman, present with Daniels was also assaulted, but was not killed.

4. Despite his mental illness, Abu Ali is a man of good will and has consistently been committed to improving himself and the plight of the dispossessed, minorities, and children. He is part American Indian and has been active in the American Indian Movement. He has also been active in political causes on behalf of African-Americans. He has continued to work for others since taken into custody on this charge in 1986. He is a leader among the inmates on death row, represents inmates at disciplinary hearings, has the respect of the prison guards, and has an unblemished record in custody.

5. Abu Ali was involved in the incident that lead to Patrick Daniels' death because he was trying to improve the condition of the African-American community in Nashville as a member of the quasi-military arm of an organization known as the Southeastern Gospel Ministry, a Christian-based community group in north Nashville that promoted African-American causes. His motive was charitable; he sought no personal gain.

6. Patrick Daniels, the victim, was a drug dealer, selling marijuana and cocaine to members of the African-American community, including children, which was of primary concern to Abu Ali. Since Daniels was perceived to be a parasite on the African-American community, the Southeastern Gospel Ministry sought to remove his negative influence from the community.

7. Abu Ali had no motive or expectation that Patrick Daniels would be lethally assaulted. As part of the mission of the Southeastern Gospel Ministry, the plan was that Abu Ali and Harold Devalle Miller were going enter Patrick Daniels' apartment under the ruse that they intended to buy drugs and to frighten and intimidate, not physically harm, Patrick Daniels into abandoning his drug trade.

8. Persuasive evidence indicates that Abu Ali was not the assailant who killed Patrick Daniels, and that the assailant was Harold Devalle Miller. The following evidence, indicating that Abu Ali was not the assailant, was not presented at his trial:

(A) The clothes that Abu Ali wore on the night of the offense were seized and tested for the victim's blood. The laboratory tests indicated that the clothes that he wore to the crime scene had never had any blood on them. According to expert testimony presented long after his trial, it would have been impossible for him not to have blood on his clothes given the circumstances of the crime, the volume of blood at the crime scene on and around the victim's body, which had multiple stab wounds. After he was arrested, Abu Ali had a blood sample extracted for comparison and was inaccurately told by the police that the victim's blood was found on his clothes. Abu Ali and his attorney did not know that the victim's blood was not on Abu Ali's clothes and the jury that tried Abu Ali never had the opportunity to consider this favorable evidence.

(B) Harold Devalle Miller's clothes were not tested for the presence of the victim's blood.

(C) Harold Devalle Miller fled the scene and the state immediately after Patrick Daniels' death. He was a fugitive for approximately 1 year until he was apprehended in Pennsylvania. Abu Ali did not flee. He returned to his job in Nashville the day after Patrick Daniels was killed. He was known to have been in Patrick Daniels' apartment around the time of his death and was arrested at his job site at the Baptist Publishing Board two days after the offense.

(D) The prosecution's case that Abu Ali was the assailant was based solely on the testimony of Harold Devalle Miller, who was spared a first degree murder prosecution in return for his testimony and has since been paroled.

(E) Abu Ali did not bring to the scene the murder weapon, a knife belonging to Patrick Daniels. His fingerprints were not found on the knife used to kill Daniels. The witnesses on the scene established that Abu Ali did not have on gloves. Miller and Abu Ali carried guns into Daniels' apartment, but they were for intimidation, were unloaded and were never fired.

(F) For 10 years after the offense, Abu Ali has consistently reported that he did not remember what happened past a point in time before the assault on the victims occurred. He suffered a blackout during the critical time. (See #3, above, discussion of Abu Ali's mental impairment.)

(G) Under hypnosis by a psychologist, 10 years after the offense, for the first time ever, Abu Ali reported that he witnessed Harold Devalle Miller, alone, assault the victims.

9. At trial, Abu Ali was tried alone as a single defendant. The only proof identifying him as the assailant was the testimony of co-defendant and prosecution witness Harold Devalle Miller, who had everything to gain by his account and was apparently the true assailant.

10. The presentation of proof to the jury in Abu Ali's trial was inaccurate and highly prejudicial to Abu Ali; because, the prosecutor withheld information and documents favorable to Abu Ali, and mislead defense counsel, Abu Ali's state-ordered psychological evaluators, the court, and the jury concerning Abu Ali's motives, Abu Ali's involvement in the offense, the involvement of others in the commission of the offense, Abu Ali's mental state, and Abu Ali's involvement in his 1972 murder prosecution. The prosecution painted a false scenario for all parties, listed above, first, that Abu Ali was not mentally ill and, second, that he committed both the 1972 and the 1986 offenses as a competing drug dealer in a 'drug turf war'. The prosecution knew that this entire scenario was false.

11. Abu Ali's trial counsel did nothing of substance in his defense. He did not investigate the case; and, therefore, was unaware of Abu Ali's defenses that he was not the assailant, Abu Ali's impaired mental state and consequent insanity defense, the mitigating nature of Abu Ali's life of abuse, deprivation, and exploitation, the mitigating nature of Abu Ali's positive characteristics and good works, and the charitable nature of his motive that lead him to be involved in this incident. The jury that tried Abu Ali heard none of this information. Because of trial counsel's lack of knowledge and unpreparedness, though evidence was available, he was unable to present Abu Ali's defenses and was unable to rebut the distorted, inaccurate, and prejudicial case presented by the prosecution.

12. Abu Ali's trial counsel was paid his fee by Abu Ali's employer at the Baptist Publishing Board, who was also an accomplice before and after the fact of Patrick Daniels' death and, thus, had a legal conflict of interest with Abu Ali. Abu Ali's employer only paid a portion of the fee to trial counsel. Counsel admitted that he did not prepare the case for trial because the balance of the fee was not paid. The balance of the fee was never paid. Trial counsel did not develop or present to the jury evidence concerning the involvement in the commission of the offense of Abu Ali's employer, who paid trial counsel's fee.