Thomson prosecuted Washington's murder case
By Candace Sipos -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- One quick way to meet city locals is to hang out with Franklin Washington in front of the courthouse.
That's been his unofficial station ever since his son, Jeffrey F. Washington, was convicted of murder almost 17 years ago. He only stopped his fight for a retrial for his son, who continues to maintain his innocence, for about two years after suffering a stroke.
Besides that hiatus, he has been protesting silently on Cameron Street nearly every day, holding one of a variety of signs. Monday at noon, he was holding a neon green sign that read, "Thomson tampered with witnesses' death penalty case."
The Justice Coalition, a local group formed in January because of the conviction of Charceil D. Kellam, protested alongside Washington hours before Paul H. Thomson's hearing, where he was sentenced with three years and two months in prison. Thomson was the commonwealth's attorney when Washington's son, Jeffrey F. Washington, was convicted for the murder of Carlos D. Marshall.
Thomson pleaded guilty in June to five charges, including possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence and witnesses. That only intensified the Washington family's attempts to appeal the case.
Franklin Washington said he still has faith that his son will be released from prison before the end of his 70-year sentence.
"The system will work," Franklin Washington said. "They didn't tell you you would have to give up a better part of your life to make it work, but it does work. Thank God for that."
Despite Jeffrey Washington's attempts to appeal his case, Franklin Washington said that his son is doing "OK" in prison, taking shoe repair and dry wall classes and helping with some of the newly imprisoned young inmates. Still, Jeffrey Washington filed a motion in May requesting that a substitute judge toss out his conviction.
"He's very religious, and he knows that one day he'll come home," the elder Washington said.
Kellam, whose mother and son were two of the protesters Monday, was sentenced to life plus 30 years for crack distribution and conspiracy. She was represented by Thomson before he was charged.
Perry Davis, Kellam's 28-year-old son, said the area needs more lawyers who work with integrity and not just for the money.
"A lot of people get criminal records that they really don't deserve," he said.