Supporters of Charles Wilhite to Hold Vigil Ahead of Status Hearing

Supporters of Charles Wilhite, a Springfield man convicted of first-degree murder, are holding a sunrise vigil Wednesday morning to mark the thirty-day deadline for the Hampden County District Attorney to appeal Judge Peter Velis’ decision to grant Wilhite a new trial.

In mid-May, Nathan Perez became the second witness in the case to recant his original testimony. Perez had previously identified Charles Wilhite as the shooter of Alberto Rodriguez in October 2008, but said he had been coerced to implicate Wilhite by Springfield police.

Joe Mirkin, a spokesperson for Justice for Charles, an organization calling for Wilhite’s release, says that in addition to marking the thirty-day deadline, the vigil marks one thousand days since Wilhite was arrested for the murder.
 
“It’s a thousand days of a man’s life lost, and the DA still has the power to drop the case, has every reason to drop the case at this point.”
 
David Lewis, the appellate attorney for Wilhite says a status hearing is scheduled for June 25th. Lewis says he’s doubtful that District attorney Mark Mastrioanni will re-try Wilhite ,because two primary witnesses have recanted their testimonies.
 
“So unless they come up with something new, which, frankly, would be pretty suspect under the circumstances, I would imagine a re-trial would be pretty difficult. But that’s their decision to make, and they may have a better idea of the evidence than I do.”
 
Wilhite’s supporters will hold their vigil at the Hampden County courthouse. Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni could not be reached in time for this broadcast.