I have a story the world needs to hear.

It's about how an American hero, Sgt. Ray Jennings, was railroaded for murder by corrupt politicians and the FBI.

And how God used me as an instrument to free him from prison and clear his name. 1/N
instagram.com/p/BMnDkslA3wi/…
Ray (@Phantm_2020) would never call himself a hero, but he is by any objective definition.

He deployed to Iraq in 2005, where his humvee was hit by an IED.

He survived the blast... but lost his freedom as soon as he returned home to America. ImageImage
While on leave to visit his five children, Ray was pulled over by the police and dragged out of his car at gunpoint.

As he lay face down on the pavement, they told him he was under arrest — for the murder of a girl he'd never met. Image
Her name was Michelle O'Keefe.

She was an 18-year-old college student and aspiring actress.

Five years earlier, she'd been shot to death inside the new Ford Mustang her parents had given her as a graduation gift. ImageImage
Ray had been in the parking lot that night.

While studying to be a U.S. Marshal, he was moonlighting as an unarmed security guard.

It was his second day on the job.

He heard gunshots, took cover, and radioed for help. Image
When police arrived, they didn't treat Ray as a suspect.

If they had simply checked him for a firearm, he could have immediately been excluded as the killer.

Instead, their incompetence would ruin his life.
Weeks after the shooting, detectives asked Ray to come in for an interview.

He wanted to help them solve the murder, so he told them all his theories about how it happened.

They decided he "knew too much," so he must be the killer. Image
In the blink of an eye, Ray had gone from innocent observer to prime suspect.

There was no witness, no physical evidence, and no motive.

But it became the police's mission — their obsession — to put Ray behind bars for life.
For five years, the lack of ANY evidence pointing to Ray stopped the DA from filing charges.

But a powerful local politician managed to change that.

His name was Rex Parris, and he was the mayor of Lancaster, the town next to where the murder occurred. Image
Parris wasn't just the mayor.

He was also a trial lawyer.

He signed up the O'Keefe family as his clients, then sued Ray and his employer for wrongful death.

As he later bragged, his plan was to use a civil lawsuit to set up a criminal prosecution. Image
Parris forced Ray to attend two depositions, where he had to answer more questions about the night of the murder.

Because this was supposedly a "civil" proceeding, Ray had no right to a public defender.

He testified without a lawyer — all recorded on video. ImageImage
Parris edited Ray's answers to make them look incriminating, then played the edited video to prosecutors.

The Deputy DA in charge of the case, Robert Foltz, said he "couldn't put [his] finger" on any new evidence.

But after meeting with Parris, he filed charges. Image
Why did Parris have so much influence over Foltz?

Foltz was his client!

He'd been arrested for DUI, and it was Parris who represented him and saved his career as a prosecutor.

Now he was asking Foltz for something. And Foltz gave it to him. Image
To help build a case against Ray, Foltz sought help from the FBI.

The Bureau sent one of its top criminal profilers — Mark Safarik.

He had literally co-authored the "Bible" of criminal profiling. Image
In movies like Silence of the Lambs, they make profiling look like a legitimate science.

Unfortunately, in real life, it's mostly bullsh**.

Safarik made up a "profile of the killer" that conveniently matched every detail about Ray. Image
He started with what he knew the DA wanted to hear — that Ray was the murderer.

Then he worked backwards to invent a theory that could produce that result.

It was like if the prosecution relied on a psychic, but one who had the prestige of the FBI name. Image
For example, Safarik attached great importance to the fact that Michelle's window was rolled down a couple inches.

He claimed this meant she had rolled it down "for someone in a position of authority" before being killed.

Someone "like a security guard."
With Safarik's testimony, the prosecution was ready to present their case to a jury.

After the first trial in downtown Los Angeles, three jurors refused to convict.

So they tried again.

At the second trial, the jury hung 11-1. One brave juror wouldn't vote in favor of guilt. Image
The judge announced that he would permit a third, final trial — the State's last chance to convict Ray.

He agreed to move the proceedings from downtown LA to the small desert community where the murder happened.

A place where Ray was already famous as the alleged killer... ImageImage
At the third trial, the prosecutor told jurors that Ray could be PRESUMED GUILTY because he was in the parking lot when Michelle died.

That's the opposite of the law in America, where we have a presumption of INNOCENCE.

But the judge sat there, listened, and did nothing. Image
The trick worked. The third jury voted unanimously to convict Ray of murder.

At his sentencing hearing, Ray turned to the victim's family, and said the following.

They are some of the most powerful words you will ever read in the English language.

They still bring me tears. Image
Because Ray expressed no remorse for the murder he didn't commit, the Court showed him no mercy.

He was sentenced to life in prison.

He would not be eligible for parole until he was over 70 years old.

His life was over. His children would grow up without a father. Image
That should have been the end of Ray's story.

But he was a man of faith. When he was in prison, he always believed justice would be done.

Even after all his appeals were exhausted, he believed God would find a way to set him free. Image
That's where I come into the story.

It was 2015, and Ray had already been behind bars for a decade.

Late one night, while browsing the internet, some MYSTERIOUS FORCE compelled me to watch an old episode of @DatelineNBC about the case.
I cannot emphasize enough how strange this experience was.

I had not previously heard about the murder.

I do not watch television, and I'd never seen a true-crime TV show before.

It was inexplicable why I suddenly felt an urge to watch that SPECIFIC EPISODE of Dateline. Image
When I heard Ray speak about Christ at his sentencing, it felt like I'd been struck by a bolt of lightning.

I was an atheist, but I'd never heard anyone speak with such sincerity and dignity in a hopeless situation.

I HAD to know: Was he really innocent? Could it be true?
I pulled up the Court of Appeal opinion affirming his conviction.

I was hoping it would convince me that Ray was guilty, so I could forget about him and go on with my life as a law student.

It did the opposite. The more I read, the more horrified I became. Image
I stayed up all night researching the case, and I became convinced that Ray was innocent.

The next day, I approached my father, a civil appellate lawyer and asked him:

"Dad, if there were an innocent man in prison, would you help me free him?" Image
It was a crazy idea. Our firm had never handled a criminal matter before.

But my father is a deeply honorable man.

When I told him what I'd discovered about Ray's case, he was outraged.

He was ready to do ANYTHING to save this innocent man from dying in prison. Image
Ray agreed to let us represent him, and we started to prepare a habeas petition.

It was a longshot, and the process would take years.

But we had no better options. Then something else miraculous happened...
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office created a new unit.

It was called the Conviction Review Unit.

Its mission was to find and help innocent people in prison. Image
We started drafting a letter to the CRU.

It was 34-pages, single spaced, and it showed that the DA's office had perpetrated an egregious miscarriage of justice.

I'll list some highlights of just how badly the police and prosecutors botched the case. Image
First, NONE of the statements Ray made were actually incriminating.

Some things were obvious to him since he'd seen the crime scene, e.g., Michelle had been shot in the chest point blank.

Others were just wrong, e.g., he guessed wrong about the gun's caliber.
Second, another man's blood had been found beneath the victim's fingernails.

At the trial, the prosecutor had called this "red DNA" and claimed it could have come "from anywhere."

That was nonsense. It was red because it was blood, and it showed she'd scratched someone else.
Third, Ray's uniform tested negative for gunshot residue.

The prosecution claimed he must have washed it off.

But I found notes from the crime lab that proved the uniform was actually visibly dirty when recovered.

The prosecution had lied. ImageImage
Fourth, the killer had fired one shot straight down into the asphalt between his legs.

His pants would have shown "pseudo-stippling" — tiny holes from the fragments of asphalt.

But Ray's pants had no such holes, since he wasn't the shooter! Image
Fifth, and most disturbing, Ray wasn't the only one in the parking lot!!!

There was a car parked near Michelle with multiple members of the "Bloods" gang.

The real killers were in plain sight!

But the cops didn't interview the guys in the vehicle or run background checks. Image
It gets worse.

One of the gang members in the vehicle had a criminal record that matched the killing.

He'd participated in carjackings and home-invasion robberies, including one where he stole a Ford Mustang!

The 9mm gun he used was the same caliber that killed Michelle. Image
You'd think all this evidence would make it easy for the CRU to take on Ray's case.

You'd be wrong.

The unit was created to help when new technology cast doubt on old convictions.

It wasn't supposed to find cases like this... where the DA's office had botched everything.
Technically, the case fell outside of the CRU's purview.

It probably should have been rejected.

But the unit was headed by an extraordinary man: my hero, Ken Lynch. (He's the stud on the left.)

Ken decided, consequences be damned, he was going to do the right thing. Image
It cost Ken his career, but he made Ray's case the first one the CRU tackled.

Due to Ken's tireless efforts, the DA's office was forced to admit its horrible error, and Ray was declared innocent.

These are Ray's first steps of freedom, as I carry his box of personal property. Image
When I passed the Bar, there was only one person I wanted to swear me in as an attorney: Ken Lynch.

His selfless integrity is the model that I try to emulate each and every day I practice law.

I'll never match his example, but he's my inspiration.

The case also affected me in another, deeper way:

When it started, I was an atheist. After it was done, I was a Christian.

God was the only way I could account for the mysterious force that guided me that night.

Or for the courage Ken and Ray showed, as brothers in Christ. Image
If you liked this thread, please join me for a space on Wednesday.

I'll take questions about the case, along with the innocent man himself, Ray Jennings (@Phantm_2020).

You don't want to miss it!

twitter.com/i/spaces/1yNGa…
Topics we'll discuss in the space include:

1. Is criminal profiling fake? Should the FBI be forced to stop using it?

2. Why hasn't the real killer been arrested? Who is protecting him?

3. How many more innocent people like Ray are in prison? How can we help them?
I know the identity of the real killer, and so does the DA's office.

But they aren't filing charges. They know the truth will make them look horrible.

Let's force them! Please send this thread to your favorite journalists. 🙏

Follow this example:
You can tag whichever journalist (or pastor, etc.) you think will spread the word.

But something tells me @TuckerCarlson or @benshapiro would be a great fit for this story.

If you think so too, why not let them know? 🙏
Thanks for reading the thread.

I'm so grateful to everyone who has spread the word + shared their reactions.

Here's a quick correction + clarification about exactly how Rex Parris influenced the prosecution.

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