CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team captured the moment an 83-year old-man went into court on Tuesday, fighting to clear his name after he did 45 years in prison for killing his wife.
A lawyer pushed Isaiah Andrews in a wheelchair going into Cuyahoga County Court for a new trial.
Before jury selection for the new trial, Andrews told the I-Team, “You know in your heart that you’re not the kind of guy that commits that kind of crime. This is America. How could my fellow man treat me like this?”
Tuesday morning, Judge Tim McGinty heard last-minute arguments before bringing in potential jurors. Defense attorneys Marcus Sidoti and Terry Gilbert sat at a table with Andrews.
“I think the fact that they’re still pursuing this is disgusting,” said Sidoti outside the courtroom.
The case goes back to 1974.
Andrews finally was granted a new trial after work by the Innocence Project, an organization that works to clear the wrongly convicted.
The group discovered police had another suspect in the crime, but the jury back then never heard about it.
Now, evidence from the case doesn’t even exist anymore to get tested for DNA.
“You’ll see in this case, as this moves forward, regarding the evidence, there is no physical evidence whatsoever. There’s nothing. There’s no blood. There’s no other witnesses,” Sidoti added.
Defense lawyers made one last try to just have the case thrown out. Most of the people tied to the case have died. They can’t come to court, tell what happened or be questioned, but the judge moved ahead with the trial.
Timothy McGinty told the courtroom, “Let the jury decide the guilt or not guilt of this defendant.”
In the courtroom, Cuyahoga County prosecutors admitted the trial will involve photos of evidence and typed statements that are decades old.
They also said, “There’s no showing that any evidence was destroyed in bad faith.”
However, the prosecutor’s office is not explaining why it’s still pushing this case. A spokesperson sent a message to the I-Team saying it would be “inappropriate to comment while this matter is being heard.”
Still, Andrews is not giving up.
A small group of supporters also came to court with him, including at least one man who’d done time before being cleared and found wrongfully convicted.
“They want to retry me rather than release me. I don’t understand that,” Andrews said.
As of very late Tuesday afternoon, jury selection had not yet finished. Opening statements were expected Wednesday.