Join over 500 actors, authors, athletes, advocates, professors and other influential voices who have dedicated themselves to our fight to save Billie Allen! Add your name to the below sign-on letter.
The letter was delivered on October 27, 2020 to Representative Ayanna Pressley, who introduced legislation to ban the federal death penalty in July. The Free Billie Allen Campaign and Mr. Allen’s family ask Rep. Pressley to call on all controlling authorities to grant Mr. Allen a re-trial so that his full evidence can be considered before an irreversible punishment of death is administered.
The letter is still open for sign-ons. Please sign today to help get a retrial for Mr. Allen!
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, call upon any controlling authority to immediately grant Billie Allen, Federal death row prisoner, a new trial.
Billie’s trial attorney and the courts severely failed him in their neglect to consider all the relevant evidence. These procedural errors casts serious doubt on his guilt. For the sake of Billie Allen’s life and for the sake of justice, the full recorded evidence must be heard and evaluated.
The urgency of Billie Allen’s case is real. For the first time since 2003, Federal executions have been allowed to go forward by the Supreme Court, in spite of clear signs of disillusionment with this punishment by many Americans. Since July, 2020, alone, the current Administration has executed seven men, and another execution date has been set for November 19. Because of the resumption of Federal executions, Billie Allen is more vulnerable to wrongful execution than ever before.
Billie Allen was convicted for the armed robbery and murder of security guard, Richard Heflin, that took place in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 17,1997. Less than 24 hours later, along with co-defendant Norris Holder, Billie was arrested despite a lack of physical, forensic, or documentary evidence linking him to the case.
As in all cases of wrongful conviction, Billie Allen’s story demonstrates a glaring example of the complete failure of the justice system to provide defendants with effective legal counsel. Evidence that could have exonerated Billie over 23 years ago was available, but was not sought out or presented, thus sealing his fate:
During the robbery, blood spatter was found on a leather strap. Arresting officers tested Billie's DNA against the strap and all results came back negative.
A government forensic expert testified that the getaway vehicle used in the crime had been soaked throughout in gasoline before the crime took place, and that whoever was inside the van would undoubtedly have gasoline on their clothes. Co-defendant Holder’s clothes were tested, and came back with traces of gasoline on them. Billie’s clothes, however, were returned without a trace of gasoline. Holder also sustained burns which, according to the forensic expert's trial testimony, were attributable to the gasoline in the vehicle. Billie had no such injuries.
Despite Billie’s request for an attorney, police officers forced him to participate in a line-up without a lawyer present.
Billie overheard officers suggesting to witnesses that he was a possible suspect in collaboration with Holder. Yet his attorney failed to present reports from the FBI and the local police where several witnesses, would consistently state that they saw someone who was not Billie at the crime scene, with an injury to his right hand.
When Billie was arrested, he invoked his right to remain silent and requested a public defender. The fact that Billie invoked this right was affirmed by police trial testimony. Despite this admission by police, they then lied under oath in testifying that Billie not only confessed, but demanded to do so. There are no notes or recordings to back up the officer’s claim. In fact, one officer testified that he had taken notes but later destroyed them. Billie’s trial attorney failed to challenge this testimony in court.
Billie had a credible alibi: a security guard saw Billie at a mall at the time of the crime. The FBI interviewed the guard but this statement was never admitted into evidence or considered at trial.
If this evidence had been appropriately presented at Billie’s trial, it is likely that Billie would never have been convicted, much less served 23 years on federal death row, awaiting execution.
WE CALL ON YOU IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY TO DELIVER JUSTICE FOR BILLIE ALLEN and, further, to call at once for an end to the death penalty itself. Thank you for your immediate and serious attention to this matter.