On May 23, 2017, a jubilant Shaurn Thomas walked out of SCI-Frackville, having served 24 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. The Pennsylvania Innocence Project has represented Shaurn for 8 years, fighting for his freedom. Our partner on this case has been James Figorski, a senior attorney at Dechert LLP and a former Philadelphia police officer. Jim has never waivered in his support of Shaurn, and is responsible for uncovering astounding evidence of his innocence.
The Conviction Review Unit from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office discovered a believed-to-be-lost file at the Philadelphia Police Department. In that file were 36 pages of witness statements taken days after the murder for which Shaurn would be arrested years later. Those statements point to viable alternative perpetrators. Had that information been available at trial – and had the story of Shaurn’s presence in court at the moment the murder was committed been told correctly – prosecutors agreed the trial would likely have ended differently.
Shaurn heads home to Philadelphia with his fiancee, mother, siblings, children, and friends. Welcome home, Shaurn!