Updated: Former Delaware Death Row Inmate Pleads No Contest in 1 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Former Delaware Death Row Inmate Pleads No Contest in 1991 Murder Case

Posted: Updated:
Jermaine Wright Jermaine Wright

WILMINGTON, Del. (WBOC/AP)- A man who was released from prison last year after more than two decades on Delaware's death row and was facing a retrial in a 1991 slaying pleaded no contest Monday to second-degree murder.
    
After entering the plea, Jermaine Wright, 43, was immediately sentenced to time served.
    
"After 24 years incarcerated, I would just like to go home," Wright told Superior Court Judge Eric Davis before being sentenced to the maximum 20 years.
    
Wright was expected to be released from custody later Monday and return to his mother's home and a barbecue celebration.
    
Wright's plea comes six weeks after Delaware's Supreme Court declared the state's death penalty law unconstitutional, although his plea was not directly related to the ruling. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in December on whether the ruling can be applied retroactively to the 13 men currently on death row.
    
Wright was sentenced to death in 1992 for the killing of Phillip Seifert, 66, a disabled clerk at a liquor store and bar outside Wilmington. His plea brings an end to a decades-long legal saga that centered on a confession he gave to police following a nearly 13-hour interrogation that took place while he was under the influence of heroin. Defense attorneys also had argued that someone else may have killed Seifert.
    
Seifert's son, Royce Seifert, however, angrily denounced the justice system as "broken." In a statement to the court, he said that Wright's confession to police included details that only the killer would have known.
    
"It has taken 9,374 days to get to this point," Seifert said, adding that his family had persevered over the years in the hope of seeing justice done.
    
"The final determination will have a hollow sound, for the murderer will go free and be returned to the streets of Wilmington," he said. "Jermaine is not a hero or a celebrity. He is a confessed murderer." Addressing Wright, Seifert added, "You will never be free from the truth of what you did."
    
Before his conviction was thrown out, Wright had spent more time on death row than any other Delaware inmate currently facing execution.
    
Superior Court Judge John Parkins Jr. overturned Wright's conviction and death sentence in 2012, saying Wright was not properly advised of his rights during the police interrogation. He also concluded that his trial attorneys were never given potentially exculpatory information suggesting that Seifert may have been killed by two men who tried to rob another liquor store in the vicinity a short time earlier.
    
In 2013, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed Parkins' ruling, saying his review of Wright's confession, the linchpin of the prosecution's case, was procedurally barred. The court also rejected Parkins' determination that there was an "actual innocence" exception allowing him to reconsider the issue. A majority of justices also said Wright was not prejudiced by the withholding of evidence about the earlier robbery attempt because it would not have bolstered his alibi defense.
    
Following yet another appeal, however, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that Wright was entitled to a new trial because prosecutors repeatedly withheld potentially exculpatory evidence.
    
Parkins, whom Royce Seifert described Monday as "a liberal judge with his own agenda," then ruled that Wright's confession could not be used at his retrial. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling earlier this year and ordered that the case be assigned to a different judge. Wright was taken back into custody after prosecutors refiled charges against him.
    
"Criminal cases do not get better with age," prosecutor Steve Wood said Monday when asked about the plea bargain, adding that memories change and that some of the physical evidence in the case has gone missing. He declined to provide details.
    
"Given the state of the evidence and the passage of time, today's resolution was appropriate," Wood said.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Powerball Jackpot Prize Up To $700 Million Dollars

    Powerball Jackpot Prize Up To $700 Million Dollars

    08/23/2017 22:49:00 -04:002017-08-24 02:49:00 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 10:49 PM EDT2017-08-24 02:49:41 GMT
    Powerball Tickets Being Printed (WBOC PHOTO)Powerball Tickets Being Printed (WBOC PHOTO)
    SALISBURY, Md.- The odds of having a ticket with all six winning numbers for tonights Powerball Jackpot are one in 292 million. Still, the odds are not keeping people away from their local grocery stores in the hopes of buying that life-changing ticMore
    The odds of having a ticket with all six winning numbers for tonights Powerball Jackpot are one in 292 million. Still, the odds are not keeping people away from their local grocery stores in the hopes of buying that life-changing ticket.More
  • Delaware State Police Investigates Chicken Truck Crash

    Delaware State Police Investigates Chicken Truck Crash

    08/23/2017 21:51:00 -04:002017-08-24 01:51:00 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 9:51 PM EDT2017-08-24 01:51:50 GMT
    MILFORD, Del.- Delaware State Police are investigating a crash involving a chicken truck Tuesday in Milford. Police said 43-year-old Donald Jones, of Dover, was driving a tractor trailer when he crossed over Coastal Highway near Bakersfield RoaMore
    Delaware State Police are investigating a crash involving a chicken truck Tuesday in Milford.More
  • Storm Water Project on Williams Street in Berlin

    Storm Water Project on Williams Street in Berlin

    Wednesday, August 23 2017 9:08 PM EDT2017-08-24 01:08:32 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 9:08 PM EDT2017-08-24 01:08:32 GMT
    Summertime is coming to an end, but it isn't stopping construction in the town of Berlin. The town is preparing for phase 2 of the stormwater project.More
    Summertime is coming to an end, but it isn't stopping construction in the town of Berlin. The town is preparing for phase 2 of the stormwater project.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Sussex County Drug Unit Arrests 14 in Drug Investigation

    Sussex County Drug Unit Arrests 14 in Drug Investigation

    08/23/2017 13:29:00 -04:002017-08-23 17:29:00 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 1:41 PM EDT2017-08-23 17:41:30 GMT
    Janie Handy, Jayquan Bland, Delane Jacobs; DSPDJanie Handy, Jayquan Bland, Delane Jacobs; DSPD
    SELBYVILLE AND FRANKFORD, Del.-- The Delaware State Police Sussex County Drug Unit has charged fourteen people following a three-month long drug investigation in the Pollybranch area of Selbyville.On Tuesday, DSP along with investigators from seven otherMore
    SELBYVILLE AND FRANKFORD, Del.-- The Delaware State Police Sussex County Drug Unit has charged fourteen people following a three-month long drug investigation in the Pollybranch area of Selbyville.More
  • Trial Nears for Alleged Leader of Delaware Criminal Network

    Trial Nears for Alleged Leader of Delaware Criminal Network

    Wednesday, August 23 2017 4:48 AM EDT2017-08-23 08:48:13 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 4:48 AM EDT2017-08-23 08:48:13 GMT
    Steven Kellam (Photo: Delaware State Police)Steven Kellam (Photo: Delaware State Police)
    A judge is holding a final case review in the prosecution of the alleged ringleader of an organized crime gang that operated in central and southern Delaware.More
    A judge is holding a final case review in the prosecution of the alleged ringleader of an organized crime gang that operated in central and southern Delaware.More
  • Delaware State Police Investigates Chicken Truck Crash

    Delaware State Police Investigates Chicken Truck Crash

    08/23/2017 21:51:00 -04:002017-08-24 01:51:00 GMT
    Wednesday, August 23 2017 9:51 PM EDT2017-08-24 01:51:50 GMT
    MILFORD, Del.- Delaware State Police are investigating a crash involving a chicken truck Tuesday in Milford. Police said 43-year-old Donald Jones, of Dover, was driving a tractor trailer when he crossed over Coastal Highway near Bakersfield RoaMore
    Delaware State Police are investigating a crash involving a chicken truck Tuesday in Milford.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Girl Spreads Love, Hugs to Talbot County First Responders

    Girl Spreads Love, Hugs to Talbot County First Responders

    "Our heroes are getting hurt and I want to do this," said seven year-old, Rosalyn Baldwin.

    Rosalyn has made it her mission to spread infectious hugs across all fifty states. On Wednesday morning, Maryland became her seventeenth.

    First responders from all of Talbot County's agencies and Maryland State Police each received one of Rosalyn's special hugs. Her mom says those hugs come with a message.

    More

    "Our heroes are getting hurt and I want to do this," said seven year-old, Rosalyn Baldwin.

    Rosalyn has made it her mission to spread infectious hugs across all fifty states. On Wednesday morning, Maryland became her seventeenth.

    First responders from all of Talbot County's agencies and Maryland State Police each received one of Rosalyn's special hugs. Her mom says those hugs come with a message.

    More
  • Neighbors React to Easton Recovery Home

    Neighbors React to Easton Recovery Home

    The Humble House has some neighbors like Michael Engels more than just worried.

    "The last thing I want to do is to find out there's a halfway house within walking distance from where my children will be playing and living," Engels said.

    Upset with what's just down the street, Engels says he's considering moving.

    More

    The Humble House has some neighbors like Michael Engels more than just worried.

    "The last thing I want to do is to find out there's a halfway house within walking distance from where my children will be playing and living," Engels said.

    Upset with what's just down the street, Engels says he's considering moving.

    More
  • Teachers Lament Axing of Delaware Teacher Center Funds

    Teachers Lament Axing of Delaware Teacher Center Funds

    Paula Kohout, a paraprofessional at W.B. Simpson Elementary School in Wyoming, was busy late Wednesday morning laminating classroom materials at Dover's Holy Cross School.

    Being able to take advantage of the free resources and tools at the Delaware Teacher Center's Dover location was important, Kohout said, because she could get materials prepared for classes on a day when the laminator at her school wasn't working.

    More

    Paula Kohout, a paraprofessional at W.B. Simpson Elementary School in Wyoming, was busy late Wednesday morning laminating classroom materials at Dover's Holy Cross School.

    Being able to take advantage of the free resources and tools at the Delaware Teacher Center's Dover location was important, Kohout said, because she could get materials prepared for classes on a day when the laminator at her school wasn't working.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices