Innocent and Wrongly Convicted Man Freed After 22 Years As A Result of Efforts of Richards Brandt Miller Nelson, Weil & Drage, and the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center

Richards Brandt Miller Nelson

RBMN Group at Press Conference

If they weren’t as thorough as they were, we wouldn’t be here. I’d just be another number in prison.

The Salt Lake law firm of RICHARDS BRANDT MILLER NELSON is delighted to announce the exoneration and release from prison of its client, an innocent man who had served 22 years in a Nevada prison for a crime he did not commit. DeMarlo Berry, 42, was convicted of murder in 1995 and has been in prison since he was 19 years old. Last Wednesday, June 28, a Las Vegas judge signed an order exonerating him and directing his release from prison. On Friday, fittingly just a few days before Independence Day 2017, DeMarlo walked into Las Vegas a free man.

DeMarlo Berry was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1994 and charged with the murder of Charles Burkes, a manager of a Las Vegas Carl’s Jr. restaurant. Prior to, at, and after the 1995 trial, DeMarlo maintained he was innocent and identified the man who eventually confessed to having committed the crime. Despite that, and based on questionable eyewitness testimony, dubious prosecutorial tactics, an incentivized jailhouse informant, and an unfortunate recommendation from defense counsel to accept a less than unanimous verdict from a deadlocked jury, DeMarlo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. DeMarlo appealed, and when his appeals were exhausted, sought post-conviction relief to no avail for over two decades.

In 2012, DeMarlo contacted the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (“RMIC”), which agreed to look into his case. Working with RMIC at the time was then law student Samantha Wilcox. In 2013, Ms. Wilcox and Liz Fasse of RMIC met with Steven Jackson, the person whom DeMarlo

had identified as the perpetrator. Mr. Jackson confessed to the crime and signed an affidavit taking responsibility for the crime. RMIC later obtained affidavits from a witness who heard Mr. Jackson admit to killing Mr. Burkes in 1994, as well as from the incentivized informant admitting that he had perjured himself at DeMarlo’s trial in exchange for leniency on crimes of which he was accused and other benefits from the prosecution.

In the spring of 2014, RMIC asked RICHARDS BRANDT MILLER NELSON to take on DeMarlo’s case on a pro bono basis. RICHARDS BRANDT agreed, and, along with WEIL & DRAGE’s Las Vegas, Nevada office, filed a Habeas Petition on behalf of DeMarlo in May 2014 based on the newly discovered evidence. The Clark County District Attorney’s Office moved to dismiss DeMarlo’s Petition. The District Court, without providing DeMarlo a hearing on his actual innocence claim, granted the motion. RICHARDS BRANDT and WEIL & DRAGE filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, and on Christmas Eve 2015, the Nevada Supreme Court…

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