To the Editor
My name is Adam Braseel. I am responding to an article written in a previous issue of the Herald regarding Kirby Crabtree’s statement from the Burrows’ family on the new evidence in my case. I was not going to respond, but I have just decided too, and I’m going to tell you why. Sometimes, what we do won’t make a difference in people’s lives for many reasons. In this instance, I didn’t think me writing this letter would make a difference in Kirby’s opinion or of those who read this letter. I realize some people are going to believe what they believe, even if it’s not the truth. I’m reminded today as I came back from school, of an important fact – that our influences are powerful.
I have a cellie who never reads his bible, he struggles to read. I was unsure if I could make a difference, but I remembered the fact about our influences, so I asked him if he wanted to do some Bible study to help him. Today, I looked into the cell wondering what he was doing and a big smile came to my face as I realized he was reading his Bible. It’s sad to know how easy it is to forget the power of my influence, at the same time, I’m encouraged by reminders. It is my hope that this letter will also have a positive effect on its readers.
I want to start by saying I have been imprisoned for more than 12 years, and I can possibly be in here at least until 2064. This is hard to imagine, but it’s even harder to imagine that people have put me here for another man’s crime – crimes I had nothing to do with nor knew anything about. I tell the truth, which means I’ve been in the dark all these years to who is responsible for not only the murder and assault of Malcolm and Becky, but who played a role in setting me up. This is a scary situation to be in the middle of. I wish you only knew all my family and I have been through. I realize, because I have put myself in your shoes, you and your family have been through a lot as well. You didn’t deserve what you’re going through, nor have I and my family. I have respect for you Kirby; I hear a lot of good things about you. I trust one day you will realize you are being manipulated, led to believe a lie, and are strong enough to admit it once you recognize it.
A lot has been uncovered in my case and I am thankful! All I’m asking you to do is research the facts for yourself. You will see who is being deceitful and misleading. It is understandable to trust your Sheriff, D.A., and your family. I trusted them also, but later learned by the facts that they are the criminals in this case. I’m going to point out just a few of the many issues in the case.
They said Malcolm Burrows was an upstanding citizen, never mentioning his arrest records for his involvement in the local pill mill or his criminal activities, they simply say, “He was killed over his wallet.” We all know Malcolm did not deserve to be killed. We all know Malcolm was no angel, so ask yourself why they did not want the truth to be revealed. Rather than seeking justice, it’s obvious they have an ulterior motive. Ask yourself why they did not want Sargent Brown to testify. It is because he is respected and would not have anything to do with their corruption. Wonder if was because they knew he found Malcolm with his wallet still on him? Sargent Brown proves the wallet should be in evidence and because it is not, it proves Sheriff Myers is responsible for stealing Malcolm’s wallet to set me up, after Sargent Brown left the crime scene. Sergeant Brown’s testimony blows the state’s motive out of the water! This should be carefully looked into considering how this undermines the whole case.
Look into one of the jurors who has come forward revealing that she, along with others of the jury, knows I am innocent. She said they were bullied by the foreman of the jury, they were told they needed to convict, even if they didn’t think he did it. She also said that one of the reasons she has now come forward is because she no longer lives on the mountain. Sherry Shrum also coming out showing support for a new trial is a big deal. Judge Justin Angel knowing there are issues with my case, overturning it once, should provide a considerable amount of weight as well.
These people have lives they are living, it is understood it is inconvenient and overwhelming to get involved in my case, some have even been threatened or bullied. These are courageous people along with many others who are seeking justice. I hope you will simply consider their courage when taking into consideration the facts.
Becky, I believe she was sincere, but sincerely wrong, or forced to say it was me. Kurt, on the other hand, assaulted his own mother Becky. After his word and Becky’s were used to convict me, how can his word be trusted? Did you know Becky made a misidentification? Did you know it was illegal to be suggestive in a photo lineup? According to Kurt’s testimony it was Sheriff Myers who was suggestive. Kurt testified that he made an identification with a single photo, the first one he saw. Again, this is illegal, but it was ok for Sheriff Myers and the D.A. approved of it.
According to the reports, there were not one, but two gruesome crime scenes. Eyewitnesses said it was me, they said it was my car. I gave them my clothes they said I wore, my car, anything they asked for. I had nothing to hide, I was even excited to cooperate. Even the state’s forensic specialist testified in my favor that no DNA was found on my clothes or car. When asked if it was possible for them to have been cleaned, they answered yes. They then were asked if something was used to clean up if they could tell and they answered yes. They were asked if they could tell if something was used to clean up and they said no. This should prove I have nothing to do with it.
Two people’s words were used to put me in here, nothing else. Not going into detail about the inconsistencies and what the law says about inconsistent statements, there are more cases than you can ever imagine where eye witness identifications clear and convincingly convicted innocent people, later to be exonerated by DNA evidence.
The Innocence Project has exonerated over 360 people. Out of all the people they exonerated using DNA, more than 70% had an eyewitness to convict them, yet DNA exonerated them. Please research how unreliable eyewitness I.D.s are
There are some great facts to learn from Ronald Cotton’s rape case. A woman named Jennifer Cannino was brutally raped, all along looking at her attacker and carefully remembering all the details she could. She later identified cotton in an in-person lineup and he was convicted to over 11 years. Ms. Cannino was sure, no doubts, no regrets.
But when DNA became available, it was tested. It came out that it was not Mr. Cotton but rather Bobby Poole who at the time was in prison for another rape case. Mr. Cotton was exonerated, his life forever changed by an unreliable eyewitness identification. Ms. Cannino was devastated that she had been mistaken. Mr. Cotton forgave her and they have written a book called “Picking Cotton.” They have also been speaking to educate people about how unreliable eyewitness identifications are.
Please just be open minded that there are cases where the wrong man gets convicted. Mr. Cotton’s case is just one mistaken identification. There are just as many cases where there is prosecutorial misconduct – where cases are set up around an individual such as myself. Speaking of DNA and exonerations, this new evidence where DNA finally turned over a fingerprint is also a very “Big Deal.” I was put in here for being a red headed man, driving a gold car with dents in the front. DNA was finally revealed by the state after ten long years that it is Kermit Bryson’s fingerprint that was found inside on the passenger’s side of Malcolm’s car that Malcolm was lying beside dead. We now know he fits the description – red hair, gold car, with a dent in the front. His arrest record is lengthy, he also has ties with Malcolm, and most importantly, he has killed before. With this alone everyone should be in favor that I be granted a new trial. For many reasons I could easily not trust anyone after all that’s been done to me, but I realize there are good trustworthy people out there worth our efforts to test their fruits, to see what they say, how they live their lives, is deserving of our trust. Please just be open minded and carefully look at the facts, my physical freedom is continuing to be stolen from me.
Don’t support this grave injustice any longer. Our families have suffered long enough for the crimes of others. Get involved and support a new trial. Let all the facts be heard that were not at my first trial. There are too many red flags flying. I want you and others to know I had no involvement with the murder of poor Malcolm or Becky. I didn’t even know anything about the crimes I’ve spent 12 long years wrongly imprisoned for.
As long as I’m imprisoned, my friends you may feel you have justice, but I assure you it’s only a false sense of justice. Whoever did commit these crimes have been out there all along, which is scary!
Thank you for being respectful to my family. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family and supporters fighting so hard for justice. Rather you realize it or not, justice for both families. “Let us not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good,” Romans 12:21.
It is my hope that this letter helps motivate people to be more open minded and that one day we can become friends and educate others by our stories as Ms Cannino and Mr. Cotton.
Editor’s note: The above letter was submitted by Adam Braseel as a response to the article “Burrows’ family speaks out,” in the March 28, 2019, edition of the Grundy County Herald. This article, and further background on the case, can be found at www.grundycountyherald.com.