New trial granted for convicted police officer killer Quisi Bryan

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CLEVELAND - Quisi Bryan has been issued a new trial, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

Quisi Bryan. Courtesy Ohio Department of Corrections.

Quisi Bryan. Courtesy Ohio Department of Corrections.

Bryan has been granted a new trial because he claimed that the prosecution in his 2001 trial removed an African-American person from the jury.

If true, that juror's removal would violate Batson vs. Kentucky which states that a person cannot be removed from a jury just because of their race.

Bryan, 44, is on Ohio’s death row for the June 2000 murder of Cleveland Police Officer Wayne Leon.

**CLICK HERE to read the entire ruling.

Leon's widow Grace offered the following statement:

"It's terrible. It's very upsetting. I try to stay positive and conduct my life thinking about how Wayne lived. This is very upsetting because it puts the focus on how he died."

Back in February 2014, Bryan was sentenced to 20-50 years for a rape and kidnapping that occurred in 1994.

The victim testified Bryan held a knife to her throat, dragged her behind a vacant home and raped her in an abandoned car.

Prosecutors think Leon's murder may have been intended to cover up for the rape.

Police Union President Steve Loomis released the following statement:

Chief Tomba just notified me that Quisi Bryan, the murderer of Cleveland Officer Wayne Leon, has been granted a new trial due to "racial disparity" of the jury that convicted him. We have reached out to Grace, as has Chief Tomba and I have pledged unconditional support for her and her family.  Please keep them in your prayers. This murderer will remain in prison throughout his trial.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty released the following statement:

Quisi Bryan’s conviction for shooting Cleveland Police Officer Wayne Leon during a routine traffic stop has been upheld repeatedly by every court that has ever reviewed this case for the last 15 years.  It is likely that today’s decision to reverse that conviction will itself be reversed, but even if it is not, I am extremely confident that a jury will again convict Quisi Bryan and return him to death row.  This case is even stronger now than it was 15 years ago.  Since Officer Leon was murdered in cold blood, we have learned that Bryan killed Officer Leon not over a routine traffic stop, but because Bryan was a serial rapist who feared being identified as the man who had sexually assaulted five different women in that area.  He has since been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for those crimes.  For killing Officer Wayne Leon, Quisi Bryan belongs on death row.

This is a developing story. Stay with Fox 8 and for updates.

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