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Robert T. Douglas 

Rest in peace, Robert Talib Douglas


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 letters.




Who Cares

         My name is Robert Talib Douglas, I have been incacerated for the past 24 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 who cares?

           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 11 - 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?     



robertdouglas[1].jpg (266520 Byte)    robertdouglas2[1].jpg (274711 Byte)

April 2006


To 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 unarmed people.

      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 me???

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