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Topics

The Call for Re-Trial of Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt

December 16, 1996
Story
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In 1968 Caroline Olson was murdered at a tennis court in Santa Monica. Her husband Kenneth identified several suspects from police photographs, and then years later identified Geronimo Pratt as the murderer. Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a decorated Vietnam war veteran, a UCLA student, and member of the Black Panthers maintains his innocence despite a conviction on murder that was based on the alleged false testimony of Julius Butler, an FBI informant. Following the trial and conviction of Elmer Pratt, Julius Butler has enjoyed the benefits of going to college, practicing law, and becoming a deacon of the First African Methodist Episcopal church in South Central Los Angeles while never serving time for perjury.

An interview with Geronimo from the Pacifica archive is played. The interview includes Geronimo going over events in his life including Vietnam, his return home and attending college, working with the community, and involvement with the Black Panthers. He discusses his desire for a re-trial for which an overturn would mean his incarceration of more than twenty years was grossly unjust.

Wesley Swearingen, author of FBI Secrets: An Agent’s Expose and an FBI agent in the LA area in 1972, recounts his knowledge of Julius Butler both, having worked for the sheriff’s office of LAPD, and having been an informant for the FBI.
Swearingen further discusses wire taps from the FBI that place Pratt in northern California before, during, and after the murder in Santa Monica of Caroline Olson. Kathleen Cleaver, a law professor and alibi witness in the trial of Pratt, discusses the testimony she gave at the trial of Pratt that supports this information as well.

Segment Subjects (keywords for the segment): COINTELPRO, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, Julius Butler, Wesley Swearingen, Black Panthers, FBI, LAPD


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