LISTEN: The Story of Bryan Adams

Montgomery County native, Bryan Adams is currently serving a 60-year sentence for: armed carjacking, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or crime of violence — all crimes he did not commit.

How did he get there?

On August 7, 2013, Floyd Myers and friend John Hamlett, were driving around Germantown, Maryland in search of apartment rentals. They pulled into a park to use the bathroom when they were robbed and carjacked at gun point by two men. Shortly after a police investigation ensued, the car was recovered 2 miles from the scene and kept for evidence, where Adams’ fingerprints were identified. Adams was taken into custody, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for armed carjacking, 20 years’ imprisonment for the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or crime of violence, as well as a concurrent sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment for the robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Myers describes the assailants as follows:  Both African-American, approximately 25 to 30 years old, one being described as a husky African guy, and the other as a light-skinned man with a beard.

1) There were 10 other matches for the print found that went unaccounted for.

The state found a partial, smudged print on the steering that was linked to Bryan Adams. However, they failed to disclose there were 10 other matches on the same print. Adams’ due process was violated by not comparing the partial print to 10 other possible matches and admitted so. The defense failed to challenge the reliability of the fingerprint identification and asked Adams for $5,000 for a fingerprint examination — post-trial.

2) Adams did not fit the description.

In court, the victim was steadfast in his convictions that Bryan Adams was not the man who robbed him. When asked, he could not identify Adams as a suspect and did not think it was right to do so just to secure a conviction. The prosecution unsuccessfully attempted to link the victim and Adams with phone records to suggest they had previous contact. They did not.

Nonetheless, Adams was convicted of these crimes. The court used “good faith” in trusting the state prosecutors did the right thing. But good faith is only as good as the person’s motives, character, and means to act on said motives — all of which are in question for this case.

His fiance, Frederick resident Chante Oates, provides support and resources on the outside to help fight for his freedom while Bryan does his time.

“The detectives spoke among each other via email stating they bet they would find information in my husband’s phone that would link him to the crime, the victim, or put him on the scene. And when it didn’t, they refused to use that information in court. The moment you step into a place where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty yet you’re fighting for your life as another human dehumanizes your character…something has gone wrong.”

The leading causes for wrongful convictions include forensic misconduct, eyewitness misidentification, and inadequate legal defense, according to the Innocence Project. (Business Insider, 2016) On average, there are now over three exonerations per week—more than double the rate in 2011. (Time, 2016)

Check out Bryan Adams’ interview with Incarcerate US podcast, a podcast channel that interviews people from across the nation who have been affected by and or have been advocating for transformation and reform of the prison and criminal justice system.

References

1. Abadi, Mark. (2016). The number of wrongfully convicted prisoners being exonerated is skyrocketing. Business Insider.

2. Berone, Emily. (2016). Exonerations: Falsely Accused Freed at Highest Rates. TIME.

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