Men convicted of 1998 Toledo murder to be released under proposed agreement

The Ohio Innocence Project has advocated for Wayne Braddy and Karl Willis for years.
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Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Two men convicted of aggravated murder in a years-old case are expected to be released from prison later this month when they take a plea deal in what their legal counsel and prosecutors call an agreement “in the interest of justice.”

Wayne Braddy Junior and Karl Willis were convicted in the 1998 murder of 13-year-old Maurice Purifie. They have maintained their innocence since.

A joint court filing from prosecutors and the Ohio Innocence Project, who has long been advocating for the men, said that they were convicted solely on the testimony of another suspect in the case. Travis Slaughter testified that he, Braddy and Willis all took turns shooting the teenager.

“For their part, Braddy and Willis maintain their innocence,” the court filing read. “Absent this agreement, they would continue to fight to prove their innocence and gain their freedom. However, after over 23 years of incarceration and litigation, they are also ready for a resolution in this case.”

Last year, the court determined there would not be a strong probability of a different result in a retrial even as Slaughter’s testimony was not credible by his 2019 affidavit where he swore Braddy and Willis were not involved in the murder.

The documents said the men intend to enter Alford pleas to give them certainty about their sentences and allow them to return home while maintaining their innocence.

Braddy and Willis are scheduled to be back in court on March 28.

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