AP

Innocence claims denied in death of Chris Paul’s grandfather

Apr 28, 2022, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Judges denied the innocence claims Thursday of four men who were convicted of killing the grandfather of NBA star Chris Paul when they were teens, even though a key witness has recanted her testimony.

In 2020, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission found sufficient evidence of factual innocence to send their cases to a panel of three Superior Court judges.

But on Thursday, after an eight-day-long hearing in a Forsyth County courtroom, a three-judge panel rejected the claims of defendants Rayshawn Banner, Christopher Bryant, Nathaniel Cauthen and Jermal Tolliver, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

Nathaniel Jones, 61, died from a heart attack outside his Winston-Salem home after being tied up, beaten and robbed in November 2002. Paul, his grandson, was a standout high school basketball player at the time and now plays for the Phoenix Suns.

Cauthen and his brother, Banner, who were 15 and 14 years old at the time of Jones’ death, were convicted of first-degree murder and are serving life sentences. Bryant, Tolliver and Dorrell Brayboy — all 15 at the time — were convicted of second-degree murder and were released after serving prison time. Brayboy was fatally stabbed outside a Winston-Salem supermarket in 2019.

The men were charged after hours of interrogation by Winston-Salem police detectives, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. They told commission staff, commission members and the judges that they were innocent and that every time they told detectives they didn’t have anything to do with Jones’ death, they were accused of lying, according to the newspaper.

In some instances, they said police detectives threatened them with the death penalty. Bryant said a detective pointed to a place on his arm and said that would be where a needle for lethal injection would go. Bryant said that minutes later, he started implicating himself.

No definitive physical evidence ever tied the men to the crime scene, including fingerprints lifted from Jones’ vehicle. The commission also performed post-conviction DNA testing on items from the crime scene, but there was no match to the men.

Chris Paul has made no public statement about the hearing. Robin Paul, his mother, and his aunt, Rhonda Hairston, both took the stand Wednesday and said they believe the men convicted of Jones’ murder are guilty.

Jessicah Black, who was a teenager when she met the boys two months before Jones’ death, testified that she hung out with them and drove them around, often smoking marijuana. Black told police and testified in two trials that she heard some of the boys talk about robbing Jones and that she was sitting at a picnic table in Belview Park about 100 yards (91 meters) from Jones’ house and could hear Jones scream during the attack.

Black, now 36, has since recanted all of her previous testimony and said in court last week that it was all a lie. She said police detectives coerced her into making a false statement and told her that if she didn’t say what they wanted to hear, she would go to prison for life for murder. She was never criminally charged.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

1 day ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

1 day ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

4 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Innocence claims denied in death of Chris Paul’s grandfather