Julian "Suave" Scott, who scored a hit with a 1988 cover of the Temptations’ "My Girl" but was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole in 1994, has asked the California Court of Appeal to throw out his conviction.
Two witnesses who testified against the singer have given sworn statements saying they lied at the trial, and defense lawyers have produced witness statements and travel receipts saying their client was visiting his sister in Mississippi the night of the killing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Scott, whose real name is Waymond Anderson, released three albums on Capitol before being convicted of setting fire to a home near the University of Southern California in 1993 to kill a man over what prosecutors said was an unpaid drug debt. Two died in the fire.
"I had nothing to do with this murder – and the police know it," Anderson told the Times in an interview from Corcoran State Prison in central California. "My son was 6 when they locked me up. Last year, he graduated from high school. Have you any idea how long that is?"
With no physical evidence tying Anderson to the scene, prosecutors relied heavily on the two witnesses: Willock Garcia, who was the brother of victim Robert Wellington and was also badly burned in the fire, and Patricia Tidmore-Ellison, a reputed heroin addict who lived nearby.
The two were tracked down by private investigators and recanted their original testimony against Anderson. Garcia was living on the streets and Tidmore-Ellison was in prison. The Times verified that their recantations were legit.
"I was trying to save my own skin," Tidmore-Ellison told the paper. "I did what the police told me to."
The initial verdict was appealed all the way to the California Supreme Court, which upheld it.