“Many times I felt like giving up.Sometimes I’d be coming out in the morning time just looking around just being in that environment thinking, Lord, I’m ready to go I’m tired of this,” said Whitley.
Cedrick Whitley, along with Sylvester Johnson, was charged with killing business owner Clarence Trimble during a robbery inside Big C’s game room in 2009, but Whitley always maintained his innocence.
” You can tell a person based on how they actions are. And a lot of people know about my actions,” said Whitley.
During the night of the murder, Whitley claims Johnson shot Trimble when he opened the cash register to get change and that he knew nothing of Johnson’s intentions. After spending hours talking with Whitley last week, prosecutors felt he was telling the truth and dropped his murder charges.
” I was joyful, joyful! I mean it’s been so long. When I got out it was just, like I just spend 4 years in somewhere that I’ve never been but yet, it finally happened so I just thank God for it,” said Whitley.
Senior Public Defender Donna Smith says her team found several holes in some of the statements given by people that just didn’t add up.
” There was a jailhouse snitch who gave a statement to the prosecution trying to get some consideration on eradication.There was one thing, he said that Cedrick and Sylvester Johnson, the gentleman who plead guilty to the capital murder, smoked pot constantly together. Well Cedrick was injured at work 3 days before this happened and was drug tested and he was clean. And as one of the attorneys developed the case, worked the case and continued talking to Cedrick, it became clear that there was just more and more indications pointing to his innocence,” said Smith.
Johnson plead guilty last August and was sentenced to life without parole. Last week, Whitley was released from jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property. He was fined $100, court costs and released on time he already served.
“Cedrick is delightful young man, he is well educated, he’s always worked for a living. He’s a charming person. And it’s unfortunate he spent almost four years in jail on a charge he was innocent of,” said Smith.
Whitley says his family’s love and faith in God brought him through it all. Now he looks forward to getting his life back to normal.
“I got to go to work. I love to work so hopefully I find a job start back to working and get married and get a family going,” said Whitley.
Attorney Donna Smith says they working hard to get the misdemeanor and capital murder charged expunged from his record quickly.