by Laquita Winn
A 23-year-old African American male is accused and convicted of murder in the second degree. Sadly, there is a higher chance of that happening with our young Black men than any other ethnic group in the U.S. Even when evidence favors a Black defendant, the verdict of guilty is handed down to Black males between the ages of 18 through 35 at four times the rate for whites.
Take Aljerwon Moran, for instance. The evidence favors his acquittal. On Feb. 9, 2011, two men, Marvin Fritz and Roderick McCullon, barged into the apartment home of Moran’s girlfriend with the intent of robbery. The victims, Moran, his girlfriend and his friend, Lawrence Potter, were playing video games.
However, the would-be robbers plan did not go as they would have liked. They entered the home wearing ski masks, dark clothing and armed while yelling, “This is a robbery, b—h.” Fighting for the lives of his family, his friend and himself, Moran was able to free a hand from the brawl, grab the firearm from under the couch, and discharge shots at the robbers. The robbers fled the scene.
Little did Moran know that he had hit both robbers. One of the assailants, Roderick McCullon, made it to the apartment’s front area, where he collapsed and died in the yard. The co-conspirator, Marvin Fritz, was on parole in Detroit, Mich. He did not have permission to be in Louisiana.
His criminal past shows an extensive record of run-ins with the law including burglaries, robberies and thefts. In contrast, Aljerwon Moran nor his friend Lawrence Potter had even been in trouble with the law. Seems like a pretty clean and cut case, huh? Well, let’s see how Louisiana’s criminal justice system interpreted those facts.
At Moran’s trial, the prosecutor offered Marvin Fritz’ testimony to the jury, which stated that he and his cousin were walking to the store in 10-degree weather to get beer. While walking, his cousin informed him he had a problem with a man who lived nearby, and Fritz stated that he told his cousin, “Let’s go talk to him.”
When they arrived at Moran’s apartment, he questioned Moran about the situation with his cousin. Fritz stated that then he swung at him and a fight ensued. He claims that while fighting with Moran on the lawn, he saw his cousin pinned down by Moran’s friend. When Fritz heard two shots, he said that he ran to help his cousin but was stopped when he was shot in the side. Again, this was the prosecution’s case to the jury: the words of a career criminal.
Even when evidence favors a Black defendant, the verdict of guilty is handed down to Black males between the ages of 18 through 35 at four times the rate for whites.
What the prosecution did not offer to the jury was the fact that the police interviewed two female friends of the robbers who did not know Aljerwon Moran, Lawrence Potter nor anything about the shooting or the subsequent death. Both women stated to the police that while hanging with the robbers earlier on that date, they heard them planning a robbery of a home in the area.
Also, the prosecution failed to mention that there was allegedly a neighbor across the street who saw Marvin Fritz flee the scene with a gun in his hand. After the incident, Aljerwon Moran voluntarily went to the West Monroe Police Department to file a complaint and give a statement.
Instead, a few days later he was arrested, charged and eventually found guilty of second degree murder. Police evidence shows that Marvin Fritz was principal to attempted armed robbery, thus making him criminally responsible for any killing that resulted from its attempt.
Aljerwon Moran now resides in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. He is trying to make the best of a bad situation by obtaining as many self-help program certificates that he can while also working successfully to obtain his GED.
Police evidence shows that Marvin Fritz was principal to attempted armed robbery, thus making him criminally responsible for any killing that resulted from its attempt.
Ironically, Marvin Fritz was set free. He went on to commit yet another robbery, and this time it tragically ended with the death of the victim. Who is responsible for that man’s death – Marvin Fritz or the Louisiana criminal justice system? You decide!
Aljerwon Moran now resides in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Ironically, Marvin Fritz was set free.
If you would like to help or donate to Aljerwon Moran, please contact him: Aljerwon Moran, 594012, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA 70712. Take a stand against injustice! May God continue to bless and keep you.
Laquita Winn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.