WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- A judge has deniedseven men convicted in the murder of Catherine Fuller on H Street a new trial or to vacate their convictions.Catherine Fuller, was a house cleaner and mother of six who was beaten, robbed and sodomized with a pole in a garage off an alley in October 1984. Police believed a huge group of young people they called the 8th and H Crew killed her.
In May,the convicted men's attorneys argued prosecutors withheld eyewitness accounts that identified two other potential lone suspects in the 1984 murder. They pointed to testimony by one of the defendants that police beat a confession out of him, and suggested the physical evidence is at odds with the accounts of witnesses at trial.
Monday, WUSA 9 received Judge Frederick Weisberg's decision in the case (you can see it at the attached link). WARNING: Parts of the document contain graphic descriptions. The judge lists reasons for rejecting the men's claims, including details fromone man's ineffective assistance claim, theInnocence Protection Act andBrady v. Maryland. In his conclusion, he says the men based their claims almost entirely on recantations from four people but that those recantations are not credible and that one of them may not actually be a recantation.
The judge writes in part: "Having heard the 'new' evidence, the court is convinced that the totality of evidence pointing to the guilt of these seven petitioners, and others, in the abduction and murder of Catherine Fuller on October 1, 1984, remains -- as the Court of Appeals first characterized it -- 'overwhelming.'"