On May 11th 2003 Gerald Marshall and his two co-defendants, Kenny Calliham and Ronald “Bo” Worthy set out to commit a “fake robbery”, an “inside job” that had been masterminded by the shift manager (Greg Love) of a Whataburger Restaurant in Houston, Texas. Nobody was supposed to get hurt, they would just be handed over some money.
The three young men came from precarious social and financial conditions, driven by desperation. It was supposed to be a “business deal” with no risk involved.
But the plan took a terrible turn when in the course of the robbery a mentally challenged employee of the Whataburger got shot and died shortly after.
Recipe for a wrongful conviction
The state built its case against Gerald Marshall almost entirely on the self-serving statements of a co-defendant, snitch testimony and an unreliable in-court (mis-) identification while compelling evidence points towards Ronald “Bo” Worthy as the perpetrator.
Two employees of the Whataburger briefly saw the robber enter the Restaurant through the drive-through window. Both described him as: left-handed, skinny, having a dark complexion.
One of these witnesses later immediately picked out a person from a photo spread who looked like Ronald Worthy. He did not pick out Gerald Marshall, who is right-handed, broad built with a light complexion.
While Gerald Marshall had evidently clean clothes with neither blood nor gun powder residue on them, Ronald Worthy would make his girlfriend dispose of bloody clothing, as documented in the police file.
It was also Worthy who organized the guns and later sold them.
Contrary to a keep-separate order by the court, the co-defendants Calliham and Worthy, who were old friends, were housed together in jail. With the help of another inmate they effectively cleared themselves from the shooting and successfully framed Gerald. Together with the statement of a jailhouse snitch, who received a drastically reduced sentence (one year in jail instead of 25 years to life) that was enough for the state to turn a blind eye towards the significant evidence against co-defendant Worthy and indict Gerald for the murder.
Later in Worthy’s trial, the prosecution, who had a history of misconduct and suppression of evidence, would tell an entirely different story from what they told the jury in Gerald’s trial: now not one robber (Gerald’s trial) but two robbers (Worthy’s trial) had entered the Whataburger and Kenny Calliham, their main witness against Gerald, was a “liar” who could not be trusted.
Gerald Marshall’s case is riddled with prosecutorial and police misconduct.
In his trial and following appeals, Gerald was represented by infamously incompetent defense attorneys.
On top of that there is severe evidence of systematic racism in Harris County at the time of the trial.
There is also biological evidence that could prove Gerald’s innocence that up to this day has not been subjected to DNA testing.
It’s time to end this travesty of justice and get Gerald a new and fair trial!
In his 16 years on one of the worst death rows in the United States, Gerald has transformed into an artist and a man, who’s talent and empathy has inspired many people around the world.
Gerald has a 15 year old son, whom he loves very much but could never touch, since he was born while Gerald was already in custody.
It is important to be aware of the personal history that led to Gerald’s participation in the events of May 11th 2003. At the time of the offense Gerald had self medicated severe mental health problems with drugs and faced homelessness. He looked back on a childhood and youth of unspeakable abuse and trauma he experienced at the hands of his mentally ill and life-long crack addicted mother, mentally ill and violent father and an abusive foster family. Despite his desperate circumstances at the time of the offense, Gerald tried everything to help better the life of the people he loved: he helped pay his sister’s rent, enrolled in University, cared for the children of his then-girlfriend and tried everything to support his own child, that was on the way.
Gerald has always emphasized though that he does not seek excuse in his history.
Gerald deeply regrets his choice to participate in the robbery. But he is no murderer and compelling evidence confirms this.