State lawyers are again asking the courts to reset the execution of Philip Workman. But, now, a retired police officer has stepped forward and accused her former colleagues of a cover-up in the case.
It was a letter from retired police officer Charlotte Creasy that sent the Workman defense team into action.
In it, she raises questions about what really happened the night back in 1981 that police Lt. Ronnie Oliver was gunned down while trying to apprehend a robber outside a Memphis Wendy's.
"A hysterical woman, her husband and young son stopped. They were witnesses to the shooting," Creasy writes.
"She saw a white officer shoot the policeman."
The robber -- Phillip Workman -- has claimed for years that Oliver's death was the result of friendly fire.
"I see no way I could have shot Lt. Oliver," he told NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams back in 1999.
But prosecutors convinced jurors that Workman deliberately gunned him down in cold blood.
"She felt that there had been an injustice done," says defense investigator Chris Armstrong.
He interviewed Creasy and says she repeated the claim made in her letter that she'd told her commander what she'd heard from the witness.
"He told me to forget about it and worry about my baby," she writes.
Armstrong explains, "She was pregnant at the time. She was five months pregnant."
Creasy has her own problems. She's now in federal prison for providing bogus driving certificates to illegal immigrants through a Memphis driving school that she owned.
Steve Parker is the federal prosecutor who put her away. He's also one of the two officers on the scene with Oliver when the shooting occurred.
She writes about him, "Everyone knew how trigger happy he was."
Parker has denied firing his gun that night.
"We wanted to verify that it wasn't just sour grapes and that she had conveyed this information to people before she ever had any legal problems," Armstrong says.
One of those people, Dale Ballard, is a retired cop and has no sympathy. "If Philip Workman had not committed that armed robbery, nobody would have died," he says.
But he also insists Charlotte Creasy told him the same story years before.
"She mentioned this long before she had any legal problem -- long, long," he tells Phil Williams.
"And she was adamant that there had been a coverup?" Williams asks.
"She was adamant that a police officer, in fact, had fired the fatal shot."
Workman's lawyers filed sworn statements from Creasy, Ballard and another witness in federal court They want, first, to block his execution and to convince a judge to reopen his case.
State attorneys decline to comment, as did Parker.
Creasy sent the letter to a death penalty opposition group. She says she'd been trying to get other people to listen to her... but no one did until now.
(Story created: 2/8/05)