S9E9: Stefon Morant and The Kingpin’s Payroll
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Stefon Morant and Scott Lewis were selling drugs for organized crime figure Frank Parise. When Frank was set to go away on a weapon’s charge, he asked Scott to take over the drug dealing arm of his criminal enterprise, but Scott wasn’t trying to go deeper into illegal activity. When he refused, Frank tapped a detective he had on the payroll, Vincent Raucci.
On October 11th, 1990, former New Haven, CT alderman Ricardo Turner and his lover Lamont Fields were shot dead in their bed, and Raucci knew just who to pin it on. How would he make it stick? By extracting a false confession from Scott’s good friend Stefon - one he would never sign. His refusal to participate in Scott’s railroading sealed him to the same fate. Stefon was in the Carolinas at the time of the murders, but that didn’t matter. Raucci put the screws to another character in the New Haven drug game, Ovil Ruiz, who would name Scott and Stefon in his false confession in exchange for leniency in his own legal troubles.
With the help of Raucci’s direct supervisor, Detective Sweeney, an FBI investigation, and the tireless aid of some Ivy League law school students under the tutelage of professor Brett Dignam, Scott Lewis would eventually be fully exonerated. However, the District Attorney would only allow Stefon to cop a plea, rather than be declared innocent as well. The man that was targeted for wrongful conviction simply for knowing Scott Lewis is still fighting for exoneration from the outside for the same crimes that Scott was exonerated for in 2016.
The trailer for the documentary “120 Years” about Scoot and Stefon’s case can be found here: https://www.120yearsfilm.com/
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.