What to Know
Wayne Martin was convicted of the double murder in 2010
A letter to a judge from the Brooklyn DA's office admits his right to due process was violated, among other prosecutorial infractions
The trial attorney blamed in the DA's letter says he's the victim of a smear campaign
In a stunning case of murder, misconduct and missing evidence, a 46-year-old man serving a life sentence without parole for a double homicide at a Brownsville, Brooklyn, tire store in 2005 may be on the verge of having his conviction overturned, the I-Team has learned.
In a letter to the chief administrative judge, the Brooklyn district attorney’s conviction review unit admits that Wayne Martin’s due process rights were violated and that crucial information that could have changed the outcome of the jury’s verdict was not turned over to the defense prior to trial.
"Two pieces of exculpatory evidence were not disclosed to the defense at trial," the letter says. The evidence includes documents showing that two witnesses identified different suspects as the gunman.
In an exclusive jailhouse interview at Shawungunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, Martin, who was convicted in 2010, told the I-Team he felt numb when he saw the district attorney's letter.
"I haven’t slept for a week,” he said.
Martin said he often felt hopeless, knowing that he had essentially received a death sentence for something he didn’t do.
"I wasn’t there. I had nothing to do with the crime," Martin said. "They just tailored something to fit me."
The district attorney's letter is unusual in that it specifically questions the conduct of the trial prosecutor, Marc Fliedner, who left the office in early June in a bitter personal dispute with District Attorney Ken Thompson.
In an exclusive interview, Fliedner said he believed Thompson is "throwing him under the bus" and called the letter "political gamesmanship with human beings’ lives."
Fliedner, who has been vocally critical of Thompson, said he believes he is the victim of a smear campaign.
The district attorney's office said there are no politics involved. Attorneys in the office began reviewing the Martin file in response to a defense motion earlier this year and noticed major discrepancies.
Martin’s current defense team was notified.
"There are multiple instances of what really appear like intentional acts," Martin attorney Ilya Novofastovsky said. "We’re talking about redactions, we’re talking about disappearance of critical information."
Fliedner said the documents should have been turned over. “If I had them, I would have. I turned over every single document I had.”
Fliedner could not explain how the documents suddenly ended up in the DA’s file during the investigation. One of the documents is a police report, or DD5, where a purported eyewitness identified a suspect involved hours later in the murder of a police officer a few miles away.
"If there’s a DD5 I did not turn over, particularly one that is exculpatory in nature, I can’t have seen it," Fliedner said.
Defense attorney Scott Brettschneider said "there was continuous police and prosecutorial misconduct" from the time Martin was brought into the police precinct through the time of his conviction.
Fliedner said if exculpatory evidence hasn’t been disclosed, the defense has a right to make a motion for a new trial.
Martin, who has always maintained his innocence, said, “All this plays a part, the mistakes. They’re major. It’s not, like, you know, it’s a mistake. It’s showing someone else actually did this crime other than me.”
Martin is scheduled to be brought into court in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon. The district attorney's office could announce it is agreeing to vacate the conviction at that time.