June 13, 2019
An Ocean Hill man is seeking to have his 2006 murder conviction overturned, claiming that one of the main witnesses in his case deliberately lied to the NYPD to implicate him.
James Davis was convicted of shooting Blake Harper at a 2004 party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. His Legal Aid Society lawyers claim there was no physical or forensic evidence to tie Davis to the crime and that his conviction rested on “disputed eyewitness testimony.”
A friend of Davis’ at the time, Tina “Titi” Black Jr., told police that Davis was involved in the shooting. Black died in 2013, but her mother testified before Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on Wednesday that her daughter admitted years later she had lied about Davis’ involvement in the murder because he upset her.
“She said she lied,” said Tina Black Sr. in Brooklyn Supreme Court. “I said, ‘Why would you do something like that?’ And she said he pissed her off,” Black testified.
According to Davis’ girlfriend at the time, he had too much to drink at the party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple and went home early, Legal Aid attorney Elizabeth Felber said. At Davis’ first trial, his girlfriend testified that he spent the night with her, and jurors voted 11-1 to acquit him. But at his retrial, his girlfriend did not testify. Davis was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 18-years-to-life in prison, Legal Aid said.
James Davis was convicted in 2006 of murdering a man at a party. He claims he did not do it. Photo courtesy of the Legal Aid Society James Davis was convicted in 2006 of murdering a man at a party. He claims he did not do it. Photo courtesy of the Legal Aid Society According to Black, her daughter — who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and died from complications relating to juvenile diabetes — had unreciprocated feelings for Davis at the time of the murder. Tina Black Jr. told police that Davis was involved in the murder after she found out that he was seeing another woman, according to her mother.
“My daughter lied, and she died. Nothing can be done and he’s still sitting behind bars now,” Tina Black Sr. testified, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of James Davis’s face on it and “INNOCENT” written above the photo.
Assistant District Attorney Ernest Chin asked why she did not come forward with her daughter’s revelation earlier, while Davis sat in prison for a murder she believed he did not commit.
“You decided to just hold onto this information about what your daughter allegedly told you to yourself?” Chin asked Black.
Black admitted that she did not tell anyone about what her daughter said.
“Did you think it would help to go to the police with this?” Chin asked her.
“No, because my daughter was dead already,” Black said.
Davis applied through Brooklyn’s Conviction Review Unit to have his conviction overturned. His application has neither been accepted nor denied.
“The CRU case has not yet concluded,” a spokesperson for the Brooklyn DA told the Brooklyn Eagle.