Her cousin, Rodney K. Stanberry (pictured), began serving a prison sentence in 1997 for crimes that extensive evidence indicates that he did not commit, and she will not stop until justice prevails.
In 1992, Valerie Finley was shot in the head during a home invasion. The purpose of the crime was allegedly to steal her husband, Mike Finley’s, gun collection.
Valerie survived the shooting, but after awakening from a coma three weeks later, she identified her husband’s best friend, Rodney, as one of the men who broke into their home.
Forensic reports show that there was no physical evidence that Stanberry was present at the scene; in fact, his claims that he was at work are confirmed by his clock-in sheet at his place of employment, waste management company BFI.
Rodney, now 42, has served 15 years of a 20-year sentence for the attempted murder of Valerie Finley, even though family, friends, and employers have shown unwavering support of his character and no motive for the crime has ever been discovered. Two appeals have been denied thus far, but guess what is the most heinous part of this case.
A man confessed to committing the crime and said that Rodney was innocent.
In 1993, Terrell Moore of Mobile, Ala., confessed to the crime to private investigator Ryan Russell, insisting that not only was Stanberry not involved in any way in the crime, but that he had not seen him at all that fateful day in March of 1992.
According to his testimony, Angel Melendez, a man who had traveled from New York for Mardi Gras, visited the Finley home with Stanberry. After seeing the gun collection, Melendez allegedly decided to steal the guns. Witnesses also identified Moore at the scene as well as his car.
In the law office of Clark, Deen & Copeland and in the presence of Assistant District Attorney
Buzz Jordan, Moore manned up in a 50-page confession — risking life in prison — to stop an innocent man from serving his time.
The state of Alabama passed on the confession, though: apparently, any old Black man will do when it comes to attempted murder.
According to the website dedicated to Rodney’s release, Assistant District Attorney Martha Tierney was adamant that details of Moore’s confession not be presented during trial:
Though it is true that Ms. Finley identified Stanberry (the only familiar face) after awakening from a three-week coma and still recuperating from being shot in the head, there is absolutely no physical evidence linking Rodney to the crime.
In an exclusive interview with NewsOne, District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Mike Morgan, brushes those facts aside, stating that there is still no reason for Rodney Stanberry to be granted another trial:
When pressed on whether he would push for another trial for Rodney, in light of the overwhelming evidence that points to his innocence, Morgan was hesitant:
When asked about the district attorney making Moore fearful of prosecution just as he was sworn-in to testify in Stanberry’s defense, leading him to plead the fifth amendment, Morgan’s response was brief:
The wheels of justice came to a screeching halt when Valerie Finley died from an unrelated illness four months after the incident. Her alleged shooter, Angel Melendez, was murdered in New York during a botched drug deal and many considered the case to be a done deal.
Still, as time marches on and Rodney remains in prison for crimes that he clearly did not commit, Dr. Stanberry is mobilizing anyone and everyone who is willing to take a stand against the predatory judicial system:
NewsOne is partnering with Dr. Stanberry to see justice served in this case. While Rodney is not facing death, as in the state-sanctioned murder of Troy Davis, he has lost many valuable years of his son’s life and with his ailing parents.
He lost out on income and the ability to care for his family; they stripped him of basic human dignity and fairness under the law and continue to do so today without remorse. The state of Alabama stole this man’s life from him and Black America should stand together and say:
This is 2012. Not this time; not this Black man.
NOTE: To contact District Attorney Ashley Rich, please call:251-574-6685