FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Chapman
Phone: (904) 255-3004
Cell: (904) 524-6626
March 28, 2018
CONVICTION INTEGRITY REVIEW OF 1976 CASE LEADS TO RELEASE OF CLIFFORD WILLIAMS, NATHAN MYERS
For the first time in Florida, an investigation spearheaded by a prosecutor’s conviction review unit has led to the release of two incarcerated men convicted in a decades-old murder. After an extensive analysis by the office’s Conviction Integrity Review (CIR) unit, the State Attorney’s Office has determined it no longer has confidence in the integrity of the convictions or the guilt of Clifford Williams Jr. and Nathan Myers in the 1976 murder of Jeannette Williams.
On March 28, 2019, the Honorable Judge Angela Cox vacated the prior convictions of Williams and Myers after granting ineffective assistance of counsel motions submitted by defense counsel. The State supported the relief sought and submitted its CIR investigation for the court to review.
“As prosecutors, we have a continuing, post-conviction ethical obligation to pursue justice when we become aware of material evidence suggesting a conviction is not correct,” said State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
In the early morning of May 2, 1976, Jeanette Williams and Nina Marshall were shot while lying in bed in a Northwest Jacksonville first-floor apartment. Williams died instantly from her wounds. Marshall survived and indicated to law enforcement that Clifford Williams (no relation to Jeanette) and Myers entered the apartment and were the gunmen. The two men were convicted during a trial in which their attorneys presented no defense on their behalf. The CIR investigation, led by Director Shelley Thibodeau, revealed the case’s physical and forensic evidence contradicts the eyewitness testimony of the events of that night; that potential alibi witnesses were never called by defense counsel at trial; and that another man admitted to others that he was the one who committed the crime.
“The CIR did an incredibly diligent and thorough job untangling an old, complicated case to reveal and correct a clear miscarriage of justice,” said Seth Miller, Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) executive director. “The righting of this injustice for Mr. Myers and Mr. Williams is validation of Melissa Nelson’s vision for the CIR and Shelley Thibodeau’s persistence in finding the truth.”
Nelson established the first CIR in Florida with the financial support of the state Legislature, in recognition of the office’s continuing post-conviction ethical obligations. The CIR’s goal is to maintain public trust and confidence in the office’s work by reviewing claims of actual innocence. Director Thibodeau joined the office in January 2018 and has been contacted by more than 200 individuals inquiring about CIR criteria since that time.
Myers, who is represented by the IPF, was one of the individuals who wrote to Thibodeau seeking a review of his case.
“I only have faith in my lord. I feel blessed to feel like someone was listening to me. I came across the Conviction Integrity Unit and felt good to have them listen to me,” said Myers. “I am so grateful to the State Attorney’s Office and the Innocence Project of Florida for getting me to this point. I lost almost 43 years of my life that I can never get back, but I am looking ahead and will focus on enjoying my freedom with my family.”
Read the full CIR investigative report at CIR Investigative Report – Williams, Myers
(Links correlate to various pertinent documents, including a State-produced video located in Appendix II.)