Hassan Bennett is one of the most inspirational stories we have heard this year.In 2006 he was convicted of murder after 4 trials and serving 13 years for a crime he did NOT commit! Hailing from the Overbrook section of Philadelphia Hassan Bennett had a first hand look on how life isn’t always fair. While running the streets Hassan’s name got caught up into a murder case that according to trial testimony stemmed over losing $20 in a dice game!
The streets began to talk, and Hassan Bennett was named as the killer.
Bennett revealed when he first went to jail he and his family didn’t think the courts had enough evidence to convict him of a crime he did not commit! Despite his family’s confidence his first trial ended in a mistrial. All due to one of the jurors “(who knew of Bennett ) telling the judge that he was told by someone in their neighborhood told them that Bennett wasn’t the killer!
Despite the mistrial Hassan has an eerie feeling that he was not going to beat his case, and that things were headed downward. Hassan began to research how to write motions, and began his plan of attack in hopes that his lawyer would follow his plan. His second trial in 2008 ended with a life sentence, but he didn’t lose hope.
From his co-defendant lying on him, and then bragging about it, to the detectives co-hearsing testimonies the odds seemed stacked against him. Hassan stopped studying law for six months, and seemed to lose hope, but another inmate at the time came to him and encouraged him to continue on.
They couldn’t even prove that he was really there, as far as I’m concerned,” said Reeves, 47. “I think the young man was there [at the crime scene], but they just didn’t prove it. It’s all about proof. What Tracie produced to us was not enough of anything. If she had the evidence that he was guilty, we would have found him guilty.”Via One of The Jurors From Bennett’s 3rd Trial
Hassan went on with his THIRD trial without a lawyer, and his trial ended in a hung jury because out of 12 jurors one juror wanted to find him guilty. The jury had nine women and three men. Five jurors were white, five were African American, and two were of other races. One of the jurors commended him on how close Hassan was to his freedom.
“If the defendant knew how close he was, he would have been crushed,”Via juror David Scott, a college professor.
Bennett kept going, and during his fourth trial he wore he intentionally wore his prison jumpsuit while defending himself against his prosecutor . Bennett refused to wear a suit because he wanted to remain transparent to the jury. His fourth trial ended with a NOT GUILTY verdict in 80 minutes of trial!
“We all thought [Bennett] did a good job representing himself,” said juror Scott, the professor. “It’s not that we didn’t think he was guilty of something. It’s just that the prosecutor did not present a case that was without reasonable doubt.”Via One Of The Jurors From Bennett’s 3rd Trial
Despite the good news the victims, Devon English’s family does NOT agree with the jury’s not guilty verdict. Tina Lee the aunt of Devon English revealed she promised Devon’s mother (her late sister) that she would see that justice was served. She was not impressed with Bennett’s new found law skills.
There has been justice for the English family. Lamont Dade, another man connected to the case pleaded guilty back in 2008. He admitted to being an accessory to the shooting ,and is currently serving a 25-to-50-year prison sentence.
“If I was in for 12 years, I’d be in that library too, trying to find a loophole to get my butt out of there,” said Lee, who added that the jury was “confused” to the point of nearly letting Bennett walk. “This boy done murdered my nephew three times,” she said, referring to the number of trials. “How many times can you kill a person? How many times do I have to hear how many times he was shot? How many times do I have to look at pictures of that car? Let him rest, and stop digging him up. This is deplorable.”Via Tina Lee, Devon English’s Aunt
Now Hassan wants to help other learn their rights, and encourage people to take their fates in their own hands without depending on others to do so. Despite the circumstance Hassan also wants the public to remember the victim Devon English,19 years old ,who was murdered, and to acknowledge his life was unfortunately taken.
We congratulate Hassan Bennett, and his story is very inspiring! Thank you Hassan for continuing on, and showing us that with knowledge and faith anything can be done! Watch His Philly Fame Interview Below: Rapped Out