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Possibility of Wrongful Conviction

In 2007, Matthew Colzie was arrested by local authorities in Georgia for the attempted armed robbery, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and the murder of Torrence Brown. He went to trial in 2008 and was convicted on all three counts. He received life for the murder, a concurrent 5 years for attempted armed robbery, and a consecutive 5 year sentence for the firearms charge.

Here is where the research gets to a slight impasse. While researching this case, all I have seen is one of the attempted appeals. In this appeal, Mr. Colzie states that the only evidence presented were 4 statements. According to the appeal, Mr. Colzie believes that by the courts disallowing a De Novo hearing, he was deprived of his 5th and 14th Amendment rights. He claims this in this appeal 7 things:

  1. He attacked the witness statements, claims that there was no hard evidence such as: dna, fingerprints, the firearm remained uncovered, and no GSR.
  2. The the court made a mistake by allowing the case detective to testify as to the contents of statements made outside of the court setting.
  3. An objection to what he called hearsay, as it pertained to the witness statements, was overruled and bolstered the their credibility.
  4. One of the statements allowed was not presented as a prior consistent statement.
  5. That a witness’s statement to his attorney was not consistent with the trial testimony given.
  6. That the court erred by not allowing his defense to present the fact that a witness had a pending felony charge and thereby did not allow for his lawyer the ability to cross examine on this information.
  7. That the prosecution, because of errors and lack of physical evidence, failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

He also stated, that while in Macon State Prison, he was not allowed medical attention that he needed and that by not fixing a water issue in his cell it caused issues in not being able to flush his commode.

A new appeal is in the process but Mr. Colzie is having issues find an attorney. A petition has been set up to help get the appeal heard and aid in his defense. If anyone has reports (newsprint or televised), court papers, or links that would provide further information on this case, please submit them in the comments.

A small hope may be on the horizon for Mr. Colzie. A letter was received by someone (will remain unnamed) that states it is from the Fulton County Superior Court. It states that it is an order for release. The reason for this are listed as:

  1. The conviction for the attempted armed robbery and the possession of the firearm by a convicted felon were properly proven.
  2. The conviction of felony murder, however, was in error.

Since the system at the time of the document was apparently closed because of the pandemic, Mr. Colzie was ordered to be brought to the court when it reopens. At that point, Mr. Colzie will then be released to his residence to move on with his life. And that the murder conviction be stricken from his record.

I can not however, determine the validity of this document as it presents no case or file number, no signature, and no date except for the year of 2020.

I can not say whether this gentleman is guilty or innocent of any of the charges presented at trial and convicted of. Nor will I place my opinion having not seen the trial transcripts, list of evidence presented, nor being present at the proceedings.

What I will say is this. Witness testimony is not perfect. Their view depends on many factors including: proximity to the crime, lighting, perceptions (and prejudices) of the individual that have formed over their lifetime and etc. And if these were the only pieces of evidence presented in a trial that involved murder, and there was no corroborating evidence (dna, prints, video, gsr, weapon, etc), then this case questions what should be allowable without anything concrete and definitive to make a conviction.

You decide for yourself.

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