I find meaning, and not coincidence, in the fact that Shane’s (unexpected) day in Federal Court will take place during the third week of Advent. In the Christian liturgical year, Advent began this year on December 2, and concludes on December 24, a time of preparation and expectation, anticipating the “light coming into the darkness, and overcoming it.” On December 19, Shane will have his first day in Federal Court in downtown Manhattan, before US District Judge Paul Adam Engelmayer. I say “unexpected”, because it was just a few short weeks ago that the Federal Court requested to hear from the prime “eyewitness", Miss Christine Holloway, who currently resides in Georgia but was flown to NYC in order to testify in Federal Court on December 19. This request by the court was and is an unexpected surprise, and carries very positive implications for Shane’s incipient exoneration. Miss Holloway’s identification of Shane Watson as the shooter on that fateful night on Schieffelin Avenue in the Bronx back in October of 1991 effectively sealed Shane’s fate, despite Miss Holloway’s statements being coerced and forced after hours of interrogation that went into the wee hours of the morning. Those coerced statements, along with the coerced and manipulated statements of two young sisters living in an apartment building some 70 feet away from the street resulted in Shane spending a full twenty-five years in the New York prison system.
If angels exist (I believe they do), then Doug Walters is clearly an angel incarnate. Since the early days of Doug’s tireless investigation into Shane’s case (which Doug volunteered and was never paid a dime for) Doug has been a passionate advocate of Shane’s innocence. He knows the details of the case better than our own attorney, better than I do, and better than anyone for that matter. Doug has meticulously documented every interview he ever had with witnesses and people connected to Shane’s case and every aspect of his investigation. I spoke with Doug this morning by phone, and he was very excited about next week’s hearing. “This judge specifically asked to hear from Christine Holloway”, Doug said, “and that can only be good.” This coming Sunday, December 16 Doug told me, our attorney Robert Boyle is meeting with Christine Holloway in New York to discuss the hearing, and her testimony. Joining Robert will be two longtime advocates of Shane’s case: Rebecca Freedman and Glenn Garber. Glenn is the founder and director of The Exoneration Initiative, Rebecca is the assistant director. “I would love to attend this meeting,” Doug told me, from his home in Chicago. There is no question that Doug’s knowledge and expertise would be welcome, and in fact he and Robert Boyle have spoken by phone about the impending court date. (read Doug's SUMMARY)
We live in what Gore Vidal called “The United States of Amnesia”. Shane Watson was released from prison, on parole, on October 9, 2018, little over eight weeks ago. In The United States of Amnesia, this is considered “old news”. What is not old news is the fact that Shane “did his twenty-five” as he puts it. He spent a quarter of a century locked in a cage, a victim of the state, for doing nothing. Twenty-five long years later Shane will step into the Federal Court building in lower Manhattan with his defense team looking to correct this wrong, as much as it can be corrected given the fact that those twenty-five years are lost. On December 19, in the spirit of Advent, I will be alert to the signs of light breaking through the crushing darkness of this criminal justice system.