Hatcher speaks out in support of overturning Gary man’s wrongful conviction

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ragen Hatcher (D-Gary), Ranking Minority Member on the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, today expressed her support regarding Cleveland “Chris” Bynum's request for overturning his wrongful conviction in the killing of five people in Gary 20 years ago.

Bynum was convicted in 2000 and was sentenced to 300 years in prison the following year with little hope of true justice. However, attention has been brought back to his case, thanks to the efforts of Markael Watkins, a local activist, and the Indiana University McKinney School of Law Wrongful Conviction Clinic.

According to Bynum, he was forced into signing a confession after hours of interrogation involving threats to his family and denied requests for an attorney or phone call. Since his confession, a video recording of another Gary resident confessing to Bynum's alleged crimes has surfaced and the witness has recanted his testimony.

“I wholeheartedly support Bynum's release and my only qualm is that it took so long to bring the truth to light,” Hatcher said. “I would like to say that injustices like these rarely happen, but unfortunately Bynum is not the only Hoosier who has suffered from a wrongful conviction in Northwest Indiana.

“Because of what happened to Chris Bynum, Darryl Pinkins and Keith Cooper, I am considering new legislation to address the problematic case review process that has left innocent people behind bars long after they should have been released. An expedited review process of new definitive evidence is needed so that no other Hoosiers have to suffer what Bynum did for 20 years.”

A judge is scheduled to decide Bynum's case on August 14.

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