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Unheard Evidence: The Murder of Richard Woods

Twenty-seven years ago, Richard Woods was murdered on the streets of Hartford. Woods, Darius Powell and Betty Lewis were gathered in the front yard of 145 Homestead Ave., when a man armed with a gun and wearing a mask over his face appeared from behind the house and began firing at Woods, hitting him three times, then fleeing the scene.

After the shots rang out into the warm August night, Woods fell to the ground. Kendrick Hampton, a friend of Woods, was standing in the next yard over, “Ken, he shot me in the leg,” Woods said. Hampton ran over to him and Woods grabbed his leg, “Boku shot me.”

Woods died the next day at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. He was 25 years old.

Boku was the street name of Corey Turner. His brother, Charles, went by Homicide. Corey and Charles are currently serving sentences at Cheshire Correctional and Garner Correctional, respectively. 

Corey Turner, who was just 21 years old at the time of the murder, was convicted of Woods’ murder and given a 60-year sentence. Charles Turner, 24 years old at the time of the murder, was convicted as an accessory to the murder by driving the getaway car and was given a 51-year sentence.

However, a shaky eyewitness account and the suppression of a key piece of evidence by then-prosecutor and now-Connecticut Supreme Court nominee Joan Alexander cast doubt on the convictions of the Turner brothers.

In the early 1990s, the Turner brothers were known drug dealers. Corey had just gotten out of prison the day before the murder. He had spent about a month in Rikers Island after being arrested for possession of narcotics in New York City. He had another prior drug charge in Connecticut.

Woods was also known to be involved in the drug trade. According to reports, Woods had been robbed of a large sum of money prior to the shooting and was at odds with Corey Turner over money made from drug sales.

It was this feud that police said led to Woods’ murder. 

On the night of the murder, Hampton was standing in the front yard of 141 Homestead Ave. Woods and Powell were standing nearby in the front yard of the next house over, and several others — Betty Lewis, Lillian Williams and Jesse Keith — were in the vicinity. 

The Turner brothers drove by in the tan Oldsmobile. Not long after, Charles Turner returned in the car alone and parked across the street from where Hampton, Powell and Woods were standing. He then got out of the car and looked in their direction and began “bobbing back and forth,” according to Hampton.

It was at this time, around 11:55 p.m., the shooter crept up from behind 145 Homestead armed with a nine-millimeter handgun and ran up to Woods and Powell. Lewis, who was sitting on the front steps of the three-story brick apartment building, saw the shooter and screamed. 

The shooter then began firing. Powell and Woods, who had been distracted by Charles Turner dancing around in the street, turned and saw the shooter. He was a Black male who was about 6-feet tall and had a thin build, and though he used a shirt to cover his face, reportedly his eyes, lips and nose were visible. 

When the shooter began firing, Powell hopped over a nearby fence and took cover until the shooting stopped. The shooter fired eight shots and Woods was hit three times, ultimately succumbing to a gunshot wound in his pelvis, according to the autopsy report. 

The shooter then fled back in the direction he came from, behind 145 Homestead Ave.

Powell and Hampton came to Woods’ aid. Lying on his back, bleeding out onto the sidewalk, Woods identified Corey Turner as his murderer.

Months later, in February of 1996, Corey and Charles Turner were arrested in Fort Lee, N.J. on motor vehicle and narcotics charges. It was then discovered that they had outstanding warrants in Hartford for failure to appear in court, according to reports.

They were subsequently transferred to Hartford where they were charged in connection with the murder of Richard Woods. 

Three days after the shooting, Hampton went to the police and gave a sworn statement of what he witnessed to Detective Keith Knight. Hampton recounted to the detective where the shooting happened, seeing the Turner brothers drive by not long before the shooting, Charles Turner being present when the shooting occurred and the physical description of the shooter.

He also said that immediately after the shooting, he saw Charles Turner get into the tan Oldsmobile, drive off and pick up the shooter approximately three or four houses down the road.

After Hampton recounted what he had seen, Detective Knight read Hampton the complete statement and asked if there were any further details he would like to add or correct. Hampton didn’t add anything further and then signed the statement, swearing to its accuracy and completeness in front of a sergeant.

However, at the trial two years later, he did have more to add.

Hampton testified to details he had not previously disclosed to police when he gave his statement. Hampton’s sworn statement had only referenced the shooter as a Black male who fit the physical description of Corey Turner, about six feet tall with a slim build. 

At the trial, Hampton added that he could see the shooter’s eyes, lips and nose, despite the shooter attempting to conceal his identity by wearing a mask. Hampton also added that he had the opportunity to see the shooter without the face-covering after he fled and rejoined Charles Turner in the Oldsmobile. 

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny noted in his review of Corey Turner’s writ of habeas corpus challenging his conviction on the grounds that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, that while Hampton was the State’s key witness, he wasn’t very convincing.

“The trial transcript shows that Hampton was not a strong witness,” Judge Chatigny wrote in his review of Turner’s petition in 2009. “His testimony was so vague and inconsistent with regards to key points that the prosecutor [Joan Alexander] downplayed the importance of his testimony in her closing argument, although he was her principal witness.”

As for the inconsistencies in Hampton’s testimony, according to Judge Chatigny, Hampton made inconsistent statements regarding the time and sequence of key events, such as what time he saw Corey and Charles Turner drive by prior to the shooting, how much time elapsed between the drive-by and the shooting and the clothing worn by Charles Turner. 

According to the trial transcript, Hampton initially said that he saw the Turner brothers drive by together in the tan Oldsmobile, then saw Charles drive by alone five minutes later and park the car across the street from where Woods and Powell were standing right before the shooting.

But, upon cross-examination, when confronted with the statement he gave to police which said he saw the Turner brothers drive by at 8:30 p.m., hours before the shooting, Hampton responded “I guess so.”

Hampton ultimately testified that he believed the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m., although it is undisputed that the shooting happened much later at around 11:55 p.m.

Hampton was the only witness who testified that he had seen Corey and Charles Turner drive by in the tan Oldsmobile prior to the shooting and the only one who identified Corey Turner as the shooter. The other witnesses only said the shooter fit the younger Turner’s physical description. 

According to Judge Chatigny, Hampton also made inconsistent statements on where he lived at the time and whether or not he was accompanied by a relative of Woods when he went to give his statement to the police. Hampton ultimately admitted that he had great difficulty remembering things, even though he had included details in his testimony that he had not given to the police two years earlier.

While Corey Turner’s trial attorney did cross-examine Hampton and questioned inconsistencies in his testimony, he failed to call into question why, two years after the murder, he was more confident that Turner was the shooter than he was three days after the shooting and recalled more details that he had previously not shared about that night.

Casting further doubt on the credibility of Hampton’s statement was another conflicting eyewitness account by Betty Lewis.

According to Lewis’s statement to police on the night of the shooting, while sitting on her porch smoking a cigarette prior to the shooting, she saw Woods hanging out in front of 145 Homestead when a small white car she described as being similar to a Volkswagen Jetta pulled up.

Woods and the unknown party in the vehicle began talking. It was at this time when the gunman, who Lewis described as a Black male wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt, camouflage pants and a dark-colored ski mask, appeared from the side of the building. She said that the shooter was about 6 feet tall and had a medium build, about 180-185 pounds.

Lewis said that the shooter then ran up to Woods and began firing. It was at this time the unknown party in the small white vehicle took off. While the shooter was fleeing back behind 145 Homestead, he noticed Lewis sitting on the porch. Lewis said he appeared surprised when he saw her. He stopped, pointed the gun at Lewis, said nothing, then fled.

Darius Powell testified that the shooter wore black boots similar to the ones Corey Turner wore and was toting a black nine-millimeter handgun similar to the one he had seen in the possession of Charles Turner the week before. He also said that he had looked into the shooter’s eyes and realized he had seen them “lots of times.”

But, in response to an objection to Powell’s comment, the Court concluded, “The witness is not going to be permitted to tell us whose eyes he thinks he saw…either he knows or he doesn’t know and it’s obvious he doesn’t know.”

Powell also testified that he witnessed Corey Turner confront Woods a day or two before the shooting. Powell said he heard Turner tell Woods, “I don’t give a fuck about you,” and “I’m going to get mine,”, then saw Turner leave in his tan Oldsmobile.

But, if the argument happened a day or two before the shooting, it couldn’t have been Turner arguing with Woods, because Turner was incarcerated at Rikers Island two days before the shooting. The day before the shooting, early in the evening when Powell said this altercation took place, Turner was likely either being processed to be released from Rikers Island, or en route home.

Corey Turner denied confronting and arguing with Woods, and said he didn’t even see Woods until the day of the shooting. Turner testified that he and Woods were “like brothers” and had known each other for 18 years.

Turner said that their families were friendly with each other and that on the day of the shooting, Woods had given him a ride to the garage where his car was being fixed and lent him money to help him pay for the repairs.

With the State’s key witness, Kendrick Hampton, looking questionable at best, State’s attorney Alexander shifted her focus to Woods’ alleged excited utterance. In law, an excited utterance is an exception to the hearsay rule. The idea that lends excited utterance credibility is that it’s a spontaneous reaction to a shocking event, therefore making it unlikely to be a fabrication.

According to Hampton, Woods allegedly said, while he was bleeding to death on the sidewalk, “Boku [Corey Turner] shot me, man.” Both Hampton and State’s witness Jesse Keith heard this dying declaration.

The problem with the credibility of Woods’ excited utterance, aside from the fact the gunman wore a mask, is that multiple witnesses said that Woods never turned and faced his assailant.

Betty Lewis said in her statement to police on the night of the shooting that when the gunman opened fire on Woods that he didn’t turn around and then fell on the sidewalk. State’s witness Darius Powell also testified that “Richard [Woods] never did turn around.”

“What evidence do we have against Corey,” State’s prosecutor Alexander asked during her closing statement. “I would say the most compelling bit of evidence is Richard Woods’ own words, ‘Boku shot me.’ This is a man who is shot. He had been shot multiple times.”

“Is he going to pull a name out of thin air to blame anyone in the moment his life is passing from him,” State’s prosecutor Alexander continued. “Those are words that are heard not only by Kendrick Hampton but by Jesse Keith.”

But who was Jesse Keith? Well, no one is really sure.

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According to the trial transcripts, Hampton said that Keith was present after the shooting and heard Woods’ excited utterance that Turner shot him. Powell also testified that Keith was his brother-in-law and was present the night of the shooting.

However, according to Powell, his brother-in-law Jesse had recently died. But, after Powell testified to that, State’s attorney Alexander called Keith as a witness. A person under the assumed identity of Jesse Keith took the stand and corroborated Hampton’s account that Woods’ identified “Boku” as the shooter, though he also said that he didn’t know who “Boku” was and had never met Corey Turner.

When Keith was cross-examined and was asked if he was related to Powell, or even knew him, he testified that he wasn’t and that he didn’t. Keith also stated that the shooting happened around “Eight or 9:00 [p.m.], maybe 7:00 or 8:00. I’m not sure.” The only other person who said the shooting happened around 8:00 p.m. was Kendrick Hampton.

When Corey Turner’s attorney asked for a continuation to grant him the time to confirm Keith’s identity and confirm he was actually there on the night of the shooting, State’s attorney Alexander said that it was “very difficult to have Mr. Keith here” and that if there was a continuance she couldn’t “guarantee his return on my subpoena.”

It was also revealed that Keith had just been subpoenaed by State’s attorney Alexander the day before he testified.

State’s attorney Alexander also requested that Keith’s address, which he had stated voluntarily when he took the stand, be stricken from the record.

Ironically, when Turner’s attorney asked for the continuance to confirm Keith as a witness, Judge Joseph Koletsky, remarked, “The chance of you finding out that he wasn’t there and he’s making this up is pretty bizarre.”

A memorandum from Corey Turner in support of a motion to vacate his convictions concluded that the State’s witness was likely not Keith, but someone criminally impersonating the previously deceased Jesse Keith.

Going into the trial, Corey Turner and his attorney planned to rely on a defense of misidentification. It was undisputed that the shooter had worn a mask to try to conceal his identity, and prior to the trial, the revelation that Hampton had a chance to see the gunman without the face covering was unknown. 

With the facts as they were, it was conceivable that Turner’s counsel could sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of the jury that Turner was the shooter when witnesses only saw the gunman’s eyes, lips and nose.

After the State rested its direct case, the court asked Turner’s counsel if they intended to present an alibi defense. They informed the court that they didn’t intend to. The court then informed Charles and Corey Turner that they had the right to testify should they choose to. 

The Turner brothers had not intended to testify. However, after the court advised them of their right to do so, they reconsidered. It was at this time Corey Turner informed his attorney that he had an alibi witness for the night of the murder, the mother of his child, Fonda Williams.

The next day, Corey Turner’s counsel informed then-prosecutor Joan Alexander that they would like to call Williams as an alibi witness. Alexander objected to the motion, asking the court to preclude Williams from testifying on the grounds that the opposing counsel had failed to provide notice of an alibi, which the State had requested a year earlier.

Turner testified that he was not aware that the State had ever demanded an alibi notice.

Turner’s counsel argued that he didn’t inform the State attorney sooner because he had just found out about it himself. Corey Turner explained that he hadn’t disclosed his alibi witness earlier because he had not intended to testify, and if he wasn’t going to testify, there was no reason for Williams to testify either. 

The court ruled that Williams could testify, but only after the State had the opportunity to prepare to cross-examine her. In preparation to cross-examine Williams, State’s attorney Alexander met with Williams the day before she and Corey Turner took the stand and interviewed her. 

When Corey Turner took the stand, he testified that on the night of the murder after Woods gave him a ride to the garage to pick up his Oldsmobile, he drove to his brother’s house. After, at about 8 p.m., Corey and Charles picked up Williams and their son and drove to Williams’ apartment where Corey, Williams and their son stayed, while Charles was left alone in the Oldsmobile.

He further testified that they stayed at Williams’ apartment for the next six hours before Charles returned to pick him up close to 2 a.m. It was at this time that Charles informed Corey that Woods had been shot. The brothers then went to the scene of the shooting, which was taped off, walked around, then went to a club.

He denied that there had been any feud between himself and Woods and denied having the confrontation with Woods that Powell described. He also said that on the night of the shooting, he was wearing a University of Connecticut basketball jersey with “Connecticut” emblazoned across the front, black sweat shorts and a pair of red, black and white Nike high-tops. 

Charles, for his part, testified that he was hanging around across the street when the shooting occurred, but said he didn’t see where the shooter came from, and once the gunman began firing, he hopped in the car and fled the scene. However, he denied being the getaway driver for the shooter and denied ever showing Powell a gun. He also testified in support of his brother’s alibi.

When Williams testified, her version of events matched Corey Turner’s alibi. She said that on the night in question, Corey and Charles Turner picked her and their son up at her parents’ house around 7:30 or 8 p.m. and then drove to her apartment. She testified that she, Corey and their son stayed there while Charles left in Corey’s car. 

Later, at around 1:30 or 1:45 a.m., Charles returned to pick up his brother. Williams said she remembered what time it was because when she looked at the clock and saw it was almost 2 a.m., she didn’t have much time to sleep before having to go to work at Cheese and Stuff at 7 a.m. Williams also added that she could recall the night of the murder because it was the day after Corey Turner returned home from jail.

Although Williams’s account of events matched up with Corey Turner’s, Alexander was able to discredit Williams’ testimony by showing that Williams hadn’t started working at Cheese and Stuff, the store she said she had to go to work at the morning after the shooting, until months later.

The day before Williams and Corey Turner took the stand, Turner called Williams from Walker Correctional Institution. The phone call, like most phone calls to and from the prison, was recorded by the Department of Corrections (DOC). CII obtained a copy of the recording through Turner’s current attorney, Alex Taubes. 

Neither the judge, jury, nor even Corey Turner’s attorney had heard the recording. However, that didn’t stop then-State’s attorney Alexander from cherry-picking quotes out of context from the conversation and using them to accuse Turner and Williams of fabricating Turner’s alibi. She also accused Turner of offering to pay her for her testimony.

When Turner and Williams spoke over the phone, Williams had just met with Alexander. State’s attorney Alexander asked if she ever saw Corey Turner with a gun, Williams said that she had. When Alexander questioned Williams and Turner about the phone call, she asked if Turner had said that it “would have been sweeter” if she said “not to my knowledge” when asked if he ever had a gun. They both acknowledged that he had.

However, Alexander made sure to exclude the context of the conversation that didn’t support her insinuations. Left out was the fact that both Turner and Williams had said that it was the truth that Turner had guns and that there was nothing wrong with that and stressed the importance of telling the truth. 

It was only after that when Turner said, in a manner of joking, that a “not to my knowledge” response “would have been sweeter” which the two then laughed about. 

The other comment State’s attorney Alexander pulled out of context was Turner telling Williams, “Don’t worry, when Daddy come home everything will be alright. I’ll reimburse you for this.” Both Turner and Williams acknowledged that he had made that comment.

But, again, within the context of the conversation, those comments are a lot less nefarious than Alexander made them seem.

Turner made those comments when he was telling Williams what time to be at the courthouse the next day. 

“Just make sure like around noontime you’re down there,” Turner said. “And I know this interfering with your work and I know you need those hours in to pay your bills, but when baby daddy comes home, you know everything is gonna be all right. I’ma reimburse you for that there.”

Another topic of conversation in the recording, which Alexander conveniently chose not to highlight, was Turner and Williams talking about where she had to be the morning after the shooting. 

“I was working at Cheese and Stuff when you came home right,” Williams asked. “Because I can’t even remember when I started working at Cheese and Stuff, Corey.” 

“But I know I was coming home from somewhere, I swear it was Cheese and Stuff though,” Williams said.

“Well, if you wasn’t certain, you shouldn’t have told them that,” Turner replied.

“Yeah,” Williams said. “That’s true.”

Even though State’s Attorney Alexander had heard the recording and knew it was an honest mistake by Williams misremembering what job she was working two years prior, she successfully used Williams’s mistake as a way to attack her credibility.

After using the out-of-context quotes to cast doubt on Turner and Williams, Alexander objected to allowing Turner’s counsel to hear the recording but was overruled. She then objected again to allowing the jury to hear the call. This time her objection was sustained and the jury never heard the contents of the recording. 

Having successfully prevented the jury from hearing the call, Alexander took advantage of that fact in her closing argument and further pushed her narrative of the phone call.

“Did he call her that night just to find out if everything was all set?” Alexander asked rhetorically. “Or did he call her that night to make sure his testimony matched with hers?”

In her closing argument, State’s attorney Alexander questioned why Corey Turner, a man on trial for murder, would wait so long before disclosing he had an alibi for the night of the shooting.

“Now he tells you he’s known about this for years, he’s known since the day of the shooting,” State’s attorney Alexander told the jury. “If you know you have an alibi witness, do you wait until the weekend after the State’s case is done to contact your witness and talk to her the night before she’s going to testify to find out if everything is all set?”

However, in the recording of the Turner and Williams conversation, the two talk about how he had informed her a year prior that he would need her to be his alibi. Williams said that she told State’s attorney Alexander that, too.

And while Corey Turner’s attorney, Leon Kaatz, had said during the trial that Turner didn’t plan on presenting an alibi witness, he was aware Turner had one, but he refused to reveal the alibi’s identity to Kaatz.

Over the course of their relationship, Turner had grown distrustful of the attorney assigned to him. He believed Kaatz was working with State’s attorney Alexander and didn’t have his best interests in mind.

According to a 2021 affidavit by Corey Turner, he felt slighted by Kaatz after a legal visit at Walker Correctional in the summer of 1996 while he was awaiting trial. Kaatz had asked Turner where he was on the night of the murder, Turner responded that he was at his son’s mother’s house. Unbeknownst to Kaatz at the time, Turner had two sons with two different women. One with Williams and another with Marisol Arroyo.

Turner felt that Kaatz had gone behind his back when he went ahead and asked Arroyo if Turner was with her on the night of the murder, instead of asking him for the name of the witness, according to the affidavit. Turner was angry that it seemed like his attorney was trying to fact-check him as if he thought he was lying, and ended up speaking to the wrong person.

Turner’s affidavit is backed up by letters from Kaatz’s office dated before the trial, where Kaatz acknowledges Turner’s refusal to work with him and his belief that Kaatz was working against him.

Turner explains in the affidavit that the relationship had broken down to such a degree that he had motioned the court to allow him to represent himself in his own murder trial. It wasn’t until his mother intervened that Turner changed his mind.

“Your honor,” Turner told the Court, “My mother, I don’t want to cause her no more stress than she’s already going through. Only through her wishes, I’m going to let Mr. Kaatz remain as my lawyer.”

Even so, Turner remained wary of Kaatz. On the recording of his phone call with Williams, Turner expressed his frustrations with his attorney,

“Man, fuck Kaatz,” Turner said. “Kaatz will do anything for me not to have a defense — this motherfucker down with them [the prosecution].”

It turned out Turner was right to be distrustful of Kaatz.

After his conviction, Turner brought his first habeas petition arguing the ineffectiveness of counsel in August of 1998. At the habeas trial in 2002, Kaatz testified that the recording of the Turner and Williams conversation did nothing to lend credibility to his alibi, in fact, he said that the recording hurt Turner’s case.

However, 15 years later, Kaatz recanted his prior testimony and said that he made it defensively after failing to raise the proper grounds as to why State’s attorney Alexander’s objection to exclude the jury from hearing the recording was wrong. 

Kaatz went on to say that the recording would have, “Dispelled any thoughts that the jury might have had that [Turner] tried to influence the testimony of Fonda Williams.”

“I did not read even a scintilla of pressure or anything in that phone conversation from Mr. Turner to Fonda Williams suggesting he was trying to influence her testimony,” Kaatz said. “Whatever negative drawbacks that would have been involved in allowing [the tape into evidence] was de minimus compared to the potential positive rehabilitative effects it may have had on the defense case.”

Over the decades since the Turner brothers have been incarcerated for the murder of Richard Woods, the career of Joan Alexander has taken off.

In 2000, not long after prosecuting the Turner brothers, Alexander was appointed to the state’s Superior Court. Twenty years later, she would be appointed to the state’s Appellate Court. And, after being nominated by Gov. Ned Lamont in April 2022, Judge Alexander is set to be confirmed to the highest court in the state, the Connecticut Supreme Court.

At Judge Alexander’s confirmation hearing, however, the allegations of her misconduct in the case she prosecuted 25 years earlier came under scrutiny. 

Corey Turner’s current attorney, Alex Taubes, has been relentless in his advocacy for his client and also in his criticisms of Judge Alexander.

“Judge Joan Alexander lied in a murder case for professional gain,” Taubes said in a tweet thread the day she was nominated to the Supreme Court. “Alexander has never been held accountable for ruining a man’s life, destroying his family, and perverting justice — just to secure the conviction of an innocent Black man.”

At Judge Alexander’s confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Taubes testified against Judge Alexander’s confirmation and provided a copy of the Turner’s phone call to Williams to everyone on the committee.

Taubes pointed to the habeas decision of U.S. District Judge Chatigny, who noted how weak and inconsistent of a witness Kendrick Hampton was, the only witness who claimed to see the gunman without the mask, and outside of Hampton’s testimony, “the other evidence of [Turner’s] guilt was not overwhelming.”

Taubes also pointed to Judge Chatigny’s conclusion that affirmed just how important the absence of recording was in the jury’s decision to render a guilty verdict against Turner.

“In electing to testify, [Turner] gambled that the jury would not believe him,” Judge Chatigny said. “By their verdict, the jurors made it clear that they thought his alibi was false.”

When questioned about the case at her confirmation hearing, Judge Alexander defended the conviction.

“Thirty-seven judges and 18 attorneys reviewed his conviction and found no error,” Judge Alexander said.

Be that as it may, her comment doesn’t tell the full story of what it takes to get a ruling overturned. Taubes explained that each time Turner has tried to challenge his conviction, the standard of proof has been higher than in the previous proceeding.

“On direct appeal, you need to prove either that the evidentiary rulings by the judge were an abuse of discretion, which is more than just an error, or that they violated your constitutional rights just based upon the record that was preserved in the court by your attorney,” Taubes said. “And when you lose that first appeal and you bring a habeas corpus action, now you’re not even the defendant anymore, now you’re a petitioner, so you’re on the left side of the v. [on the document] and you have to prove your case.”

Taubes also pointed out that Turner’s previous appellate attorneys failed to even bring up the recording in their briefs, and since the issue wasn’t raised earlier in the appeals process, Turner hasn’t been able to introduce the recording in subsequent hearings.

“It’s an extremely misleading comment by Judge Alexander,” Taubes said. “And it just goes to show that she still reaches a conclusion that she wants, and then gathers all of the facts and evidence that she thinks supports her position rather than searching for the truth of the matter.”

When questioned by Sen. Saud Anwar (D-East Hartford ) about why she was against the recording being shared with the trial judge or the jury, Judge Alexander stated:

“What the witness had testified to was on the tapes, [the testimony] had been subject to cross-examination,” Judge Alexander said. “And the Court ruled that it wasn’t necessary to put the tapes in because the witnesses had already testified to those facts.”

While she was able to recount those details and was made aware that she was going to be asked about the case before the hearing, when asked by Sen. Matt Blumenthal, (D-Stamford), if the recording was ever played for the jury, Judge Alexander said that she didn’t remember.

Corey Turner’s son with Fonda Williams, Christopher Turner-Williams, also testified against Judge Alexander’s confirmation at the hearing. He was just 2 years old when his father was arrested for the murder of Richard Woods.

“Despite Alexander knowing the truth, she actively worked to deceive the jury by making false claims against my parents,” Turner-Williams said. “Knowing the tape recording was consistent with my parent’s trial testimony, Alexander couldn’t allow the jury to hear the audio as it would depict evidence that Alexander’s claims were fabricated.”

“Her conduct during Corey Turner’s trial reflects adversely on her trustworthiness, character and fitness to be a lawyer or a member of the judiciary,” Turner-Williams said. “I mean, what criminal defendant on an appeal before the Supreme Court can have any confidence that he or she can get a fair hearing of their case when one of its justices deliberately corrupted a jury’s deliberation to secure a murder conviction.”

After hearing testimony and having been furnished with the recording prior to the hearing, the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send Judge Joan Alexander’s Supreme Court nomination to the General Assembly for a vote. She was confirmed during a legislative session on Friday.

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Tom Hopkins

A national, award-winning journalist from Bristol, Tom has a passion for writing. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist. He has taken deep dives into sexual assault allegations by Connecticut professors, uncovered issues at state-run prisons, and covered evictions in the New Britain Herald. He chose to focus on issues based in Connecticut because this is his home, and this is where he wants his work to make the greatest impact.

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