PENNSYLVANIA Death Row
Robert T. Douglas
|Rest in peace, Robert
Schaeffer-Duffy on May. 20, 2011
My friend Robert Talib Douglas, an inmate on death row in
Pennsylvania, died last Friday without realizing what he spent much
of his life fighting for -- a fair trial.
Ironically, it was not death by electric chair, Pennsylvania's
original sentence for him, but pancreatic cancer that killed him. He
was 55 years old.
Twenty-eight years ago, Robert was convicted of two crimes
committed seven months apart -- the murder of his close friend
Donald Knight (Aug. 28, 1980) and the robbery of TV salesman Harry
Feldman (March 11, 1981).
The odds were against Robert from the outset. He was a black man
with a criminal record from an isolated, crime-ridden community in
northern Philadelphia. But in his fight for a fair hearing, he
inspired many people, myself included.
My oldest son began writing to Robert in 1997, after receiving
his name as prisoner pen-pal during a march against the
death-penalty. To facilitate the correspondence, I too wrote
name is Robert Talib Douglas, I have been incacerated for the past 24½
years. I have written many Innocence Projects seeking help, only to be
told: We are a very small office, we only take cases within 100 miles
rational, and the number one respond: "We only handle cases with
DNA evidence", and my case does not involved DNA evidence. I recall
reading this book title: "Actually Innocence", written by the
founders of the Innocence Project in New York, in the beginning, they
stated: " Taking a telescope and look into the night skies, all the
stars represent innocence people in prison with DNA evidence, but what
about the stars beyond the stars, that we know are there, but have no
DNA evidence, well that's me but who cares?
Before I was arrested, at time I was working two jobs ( Lamp Factory
& Bar Tender ) then on July 26, 1981, I was arrested for a murder
that took place a year early on Aug. 28, 1980. At the time of the P/H
(preliminary hearing) the key-witness was in jail for robbery being held
on $5000 bond. We were sitting on the benches and (street name) walk up
and ask for some money and when we said, we didn't have none, he left
and came back 2-minutes later and didn't say nothing and shot Dee, I
was getting ready to break, run that's when I caught mines in the arm
twice, after this P/H the district attorney arranged a unschedule
bail hearing for the witness, who bail was reduce to $ 500 and allowed
to sign his self out of jail. I found out later that this witness
supposed to have given a statement a year ago and stated: " We were
sitting on the benches and Robbie walk up and ask me to hold a needle, I
refused he tried to force me, and pulled a gun out and shot Dee, I
tried to grab the gun and was shot in the arm, then he gave another
statement: We were sitting on the benches and (street name) walk up and
ask for $100 we said no, then he pulled a gun from a paper bag and
shot Dee, I tried to sheild my face and was shot in the arm twice.
Who cares the withheld these inconsistent statements from the jury?, but
While the key-witness was on the outside a three way phone call was held
between him, the district attorney and his attorney advised him to have
all four of his open cases (2-robbery, theft & burglary)
consolidated for sentencing and he would get him out before Christmas.
So when the witness went for sentencing facing over 40-years, he was
given 11½ - 23 months immediate work release. This was done to ensure
the witness wasn't in jail and hidden during the start of my trail, they
didn't need him, as long as they had the notes from the P/H, which would
be consider more creditable then having the witness there in person, and
also it give them the upper hand, because the defense can't
cross-examine notes, but who cares?
During trail the district attorney who handle the P/H fabricated perjury
testimony, that the witness called his office 2-weeks after the
P/H that he was being threaten and ask for help, when both knew for a
FACT that the witness wasn't in jail 2-weeks after the hearing, because
they got him out and he wasn't arrested again until 36 days later, but
who cares they lied to the jury?
Then the trail DA tells the jury that the witness only had 2 cases, a
theft and burglary, lied about what type of cases they were and withheld
the witness other 24 arrested and 12 conviction, in which the jury never
got to hear, but who cares?
Whom this may concern:
This article is a very small but true
FACTS on how I was convicted and set up for a murder and given the death penalty without a single eyewitness during trial.
Before Chief Justice Nix death; He dissented on ane of my appeals
and stated.... Here there was no live eyewitness testimony at the time
of Douglas trial and very little circumstantial evidence to support the charges against Douglas. Therfore
it can not be concluded that they jury would had convicted Douglas without:
regards to his prior criminal record, [Probation officer and Det.Litchdor-testimonies] and the admission
of his prior criminal activities, [Officers Morrison & McDevitt
testimonies of Douglas pulling shotguns & piston out on them and
Det.Thomas given the jury the impression that Douglas was a gang member at
the time of the alleged murder] can not beconsider demimimus against Douglas..
How you have a death penalty case and not
allowed the defendant to call alibi witnesses and rebuttal witnesses to
caallenge their false allegation that was presented? Chief Justice Nix,
saw exactly what went on during my trail and how I was convicted, not on
evidence, but though hearsay and the slandering my character. The
perfect pasty, poor, criminal record and no living parents.
They had over fifteen law enforcer officers taking the stand, some two
& three times, (with only one testifying to the facts of the case and that was
the, crime lab office), the rest just fabricated and slander my character, many telling the jury: when we
were about to arrest him, he would pult either a sawed-off shotgun or 25-autornatic piston out
and escape. [A poor black man wanted for murder and another ( framed robbery case
) pulls shotguns and piston out on police officers and not a single shot fired?], when we know they been many reports of officers shooting
Duting a portion of the trial they had to show why the key-witness was
unavailable, the prosecutor call ten officers an testifying how they looked for the witness and visit his
mothers house and called there over 20 time's in all, but the mother
said, she didn't know the whereabouts of her son, but when the defense cross
examine and asked the mother; Q. When was the last time you saw your son?....
A. yesterday, "he visit my house every other day and leaves early in the morning". You see, my point, about them not really wanting
him at trial?
Then this other so-called witness ( prisoner) writes a letter to the DA' s office, claim he witness the murder and knew where and who gave
me this alleged murder weapon. After getting a un-sign statement from this
witness, they constructed a cunning move; 2-days before they was to call this witness to the stand, they purposely arranged for
him to be put in the same jail and on the same unit I was being housed on/at, then transferred
him out. They knew this witness might recant, (because of not signing the statement),
so to justify the disclim, they had to make it if the witness had been threaten) and that' s why he was put at the
same prison and transferred out, and then box him in; Q. Didn't you ask to be transferred because the defendant threaten to kiIl you?
A. No. Q. Wasn't you transferred? A. Yes. (no way out).
Then 20 years later, I get a copy of a letter that the prosecutor had send to the head detective 2-months
before the trial stating: "very interesting", what was interesting was a police 49-report attached to
the letter, concerning the witness Robbery & Burglary cases that happen at my family Bar. The
jury never got to k:now/hear that this witness was serving time for crimes that took place
at my family bar and the key witness against him was my children Grandmother, who he claim
had given me the alleged murder weapon, getting back at me because I didn't have her
drop the charged against him, and tried to have her charged as a accomplish to murder.
The sad part about this ordeal, it took me twenty years to find out and get (documents), that I should have had for the start of trial. And
I lost everything, my 9 year relationship with my highschool sweatheart, [bless with two children,
son/daughter], my son was 3yrs old and daugther born 2-weeks after my arrest (never having the opporttmity to really play with
my children) and especially not being there to help them grow in life, now they are 27 &
21 years of age and really doesn 't know me, their mother moved on and married. I will always love & respect her, (she did a beautiful
job raising our children). I'd li ved with a broken heart for years, because
life never told me that in the end, I'll still be loving her, but she's gone
gne I been all alone ever since.
I have over 40-documents to show and prove the truth of everything that been mention in this
article and show that; my arrest and conviction were contrived through deliberate unlawful acts
of, Criminal Conspiracy, Perjury, Fabricated Evidence, Unsigned statements, Favorable Treatment
to key-witness and other acts of perjury by Police officers and their prosecuting authorities for their own personal
gain. Readers might say "if he had all this evidence to prove his innocence then why is he in
jail "because they withheld evidence" and the documents (proof) I have now took me over 18 years
to get, that I should have had day one, even when you go through appeals, you can 't raise the
right issues, because you don't have the proof but, WHO CARES what they did to
Note: Years later, the trial judge was outer from off the bench, the DA that handle the
P/H was disbarred and the prosecutor quit, word he was being investigated?
I will answer any question, I can be contract through this website or by writing to:
Robert Talib Douglas AY3357 - Box 244 Graterford, Pa.19426-0244
Who really cares that I sit on Death Row?
Robert T. Douglas #AY 3357
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244 USA
PENNSYLVANIA Death Row