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Kerry Porter, paid $7.5M for wrongful murder conviction, arrested on a gun charge

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 12/2/2019 Andrew Wolfson, Louisville Courier Journal
a man wearing a hat and glasses: Kerry Porter © Courier Journal Kerry Porter

Kerry Porter, whom the city paid a $7.5 million settlement last year for a wrongful conviction for a murder he didn’t commit, has been arrested on new charges.

According to a citation, when Louisville police went to his home Saturday to investigate unspecified trouble, an officer found two handguns, one of which was stolen.

Porter, 57, was charged with receiving stolen property and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

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But the latter charge cited his conviction for murder, which was set aside in 2011 by a joint agreement of then-Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel and the defense.

Gerth: He lost 11 years after a wrongful conviction. Who can blame Kerry Porter for being angry?

Stengel’s successor, Tom Wine, said Monday that the murder conviction cannot be used as the basis for the gun possession charge, but he noted that Porter has other prior convictions and the gun charge can be amended to reflect those.

Court records show that he pleaded guilty in 1997 to burglary and receiving stolen property, for stealing scrap metal.

Porter’s criminal defense attorney, Rob Eggert, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Porter’s bail was set at $10,000.

The citation says that after being issued a Miranda warning, he said there were more firearms in his home and some were stolen.

Following 11 years behind bars, Porter was cleared of the 1996 murder of truck driver Tyrone Camp after The Courier Journal fought to open a sealed statement from a witness who told state and local officials that Camp was killed by another man — Juan Sanders.

Sanders has denied the allegation and never been charged in the case. 

Background: Exonerated man and victim's family want independent investigation of Tyrone Camp's murder

The witness, Francois Cunningham, alleged Sanders tried to hire him before doing the hit himself. He provided intricate details of the murder, including that the murder weapon, a shotgun, had been muffled with a silencer made with carpet and duct tape, both of which were found at the scene.

To protect another investigation — of accused killer Ricky Kelly — police and prosecutors didn’t disclose the statement to Porter’s attorneys at the Kentucky Innocence Project, who had sought for years to free him.

Stengel dropped the case against Porter, citing Cunningham's statement and DNA on the duct tape that belonged to someone other than Porter who couldn’t be identified. Porter, who was serving a 60-year sentence, was freed.

In Porter’s lawsuit, he alleged that Sanders conspired with his girlfriend, Cecilia, who had been married to Camp, to kill him for his $150,000 in life insurance proceeds.

In depositions in Porter's lawsuit, Juan Sanders denied killing Camp. Cecilia Sanders refused to comment, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Like Juan Sanders, she has never been charged in the murder.

Camp was ambushed as he warmed up his truck at Active Transportation Inc. on Dec. 27, 1996.

Andrew Wolfson: 502-582-7189; awolfson@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @adwolfson.  Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/andreww

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kerry Porter, paid $7.5M for wrongful murder conviction, arrested on a gun charge

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