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Black man who acted as his own attorney acquitted of murder

Black man who acted as his own attorney acquitted of murder
Photo: Lightfield Studios. via Shutterstock (not Hassan Bennett).

A Black man decided to take matters into his own hands after being convicted of murder and serving 13 years in prison.

Hassan Bennett was charged and convicted in the 2006 shooting death of 19-year-old Devon English and the wounding of 18-year-old Corey Ford, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Prosecutors initially claimed that Bennett shot the men after losing $20 to English in a dice game. He was found guilty in a second trial after his first trial ended in a mistrial. Bennett was able to win a new trial based on his own appellate arguments.

Bennett argued that a homicide detective coerced statements from Ford and a co-defendant who identified Bennett as the shooter. The detective had a history of mishandling cases and had been accused of coercing witness statements on 10 other occasions. Prosecutors also did not call the detective to testify, although Bennett called him to the stand and accused him of coercion. During the final trial, Ford and the co-defendant recanted their statements to the detective.

Bennett also provided phone records to back up his claim and produced three witnesses who corroborated it.

After 81 minutes of deliberation, jurors acquitted Bennett who plans to get a law degree and become a defense attorney.

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