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New developments in Tyree Wallace case after 26 years in jail for 1997 Point Breeze murder, robbery

New developments in Tyree Wallace case after 26 years in jail for a 1997 murder, robbery
New developments in Tyree Wallace case after 26 years in jail for a 1997 murder, robbery 02:50

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Tyree Wallace has been behind bars at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution SCI Phoenix for 26 years for his connection with the Oct. 27, 1997, robbery and murder of John Su Kang, the owner of Point Breeze's Salt & Pepper Deli. 

In those 26 years, Wallace improved his life despite his circumstances by earning his GED, among several other educational certifications. He also founded the MANN Up! Association, a 501 (c)(3) peer support and empowerment group for men inside and outside the walls of SCI. He also founded an organization called Systemic Reformative Change, or SRC, a policy-focused 501 (c)(4) nonprofit to help campaign to free wrongfully accused prisoners and create opportunities for restorative justice. 

Beyond his work for others, he has maintained his innocence, that he had nothing to do with the crime he was put behind bars for 26 years ago. 

Wallace is represented by attorneys Keir Bradford-Grey of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP and David M. Perry of Blank Rome LLP, who filed a Post-Conviction Relief Act, or PCRA, petition before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 

Pcra Petition - Final(133784192.1) by CBS Philadelphia on Scribd

The PCRA argues Wallace is an innocent man and that every single witness who provided testimony against him has subsequently recanted or been disqualified. 

"We have more information and more evidence of which we want them [the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office] to review because we do believe that they will come to a decision to help us actually free Tyree," Bradford-Grey said. 

The petition also suggests that one of the crucial witnesses who connected Wallace to the crimes was a cooperating witness with the Commonwealth at trial, but the Commonwealth never revealed that information to Wallace's then counsel; despite his counsel asking the witness and Commonwealth at and before his trial, a violation of the Brady rule. 

On Tuesday, Common Pleas Court Judge Scott DiClaudio gave Paul George, who oversees PCRAs for the District Attorney's Office, 90 days to review PCRA and issue a recommendation. 

"There could be a full exoneration here or there could be an opportunity for a reduced sentence," Bradford-Grey said.

CBS News Philadelphia reached out to the DA's office for comment and were told the office does not comment on PCRA petitions at such a preliminary stage, but they carefully review post-conviction relief claims, which has led them to support relief for people who have been wrongfully convicted.

The next court hearing is currently scheduled for May 14. 

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