Dexter Saffold took the witness stand more than five years ago and described the chaos he saw at a South Side gas station in 2011. Saffold told Cook County Circuit Judge Nicholas Ford that he watched a man shoot and kill one man there and badly wound another.More at the Chicago Sun-Times.
And he pointed out who did it — the defendant, Darien Harris, the man in the courtroom wearing the jail jumpsuit.
There was no physical evidence linking Harris to the shooting that left Rondell Moore dead and Quincy Woulard badly hurt.
Still, the judge, hearing the case without a jury, found Saffold persuasive. Ford called him an “honest witness” and said he’d given “unblemished” testimony. Largely based on that testimony, he found Harris guilty and sent him to prison for 76 years for murder.
But what the judge — and the accused — didn’t know was that Saffold had been deemed legally blind years earlier by his doctors and the U.S. government, the result of advanced glaucoma.
Now, Harris, 26, is trying to get his conviction overturned, citing the eyewitness’s previously unrevealed vision problems and also that, when asked about his vision, Saffold testified he had no problem seeing.