OFFICER INDICTED: Convictions Overturned
BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- Two men spent years in prison for a crime they did not commit. While their convictions are now overturned, the events leading up to their arrest question the conduct of a recently killed police detective.
On June 10th, 2011, Umar Burley and Brent Mathews pled guilty to drug charges in Judge Richard D. Bennett’s federal courtroom in Baltimore.
Over six years later, Judge Bennett stepped down from his bench, shook the hands of the two men he sentenced to jail, and apologized for their convictions.
In April 2010, Burley and Mathews were in a car when two other cars pulled up behind, and in front of them. Men got out of the cars pointing guns. Burley, and his attorney, Steven Silverman, say the men wore masks, dressed in all black. Burley, thinking he was about to be robbed, drove away. The men chased after Burley and Mathews, until Burley crashed into another car, killing the driver inside.
Burley and Mathews were stopped by Baltimore police officers. One of those officers was Wayne Jenkins, now federally indicted for racketeering. Another officer was Sean Suiter, who eventually became a homicide detective, fatally shot over a month ago.
After the crash, Suiter found drugs in Burley’s car, leading to Burley and Mathews’ guilty pleas. Burley was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Mathews, 46 months.
But the drugs found in Burley’s car, did not belong to either man. In a new indictment, Wayne Jenkins is accused of planting drugs in the car, so Suiter, who did not know Jenkins planted them, would find the drugs.
“What stands out to me the most about Wayne Jenkins is his viciousness,” Burley said of the day Jenkins stopped him.
Burley also remembered his interaction with Sean Suiter.
“He [Suiter] would pull me to the side, man it will be okay, and I am like, how is it going to be okay? I’m here for something that I didn’t cause or do,” Burley said.
Suiter was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in the Burley/Mathews case the day after he was shot. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says Suiter was never a target of an FBI investigation.