Jury discounted testimony of witnesses
who identified Carter, Artis
Juror says "an awful lot of people lying"
Published in The Herald-News, Passaic-Clifton,
if Carter and Artis were framed
By HARRY MARAVEL and ED JOHNSON
Herald-News Staff Writers
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and John Artis would have
been convicted of murder even without the testimony of two key
state witnesses' two jurors said Wednesday.
Both Mrs. Kathleen Payne of West Paterson and Clifton Patrolman
Carl Matonak were members of the jury that convicted the pair
of a 1966 Paterson triple murder. Both jurors said they had basically
discounted the testimony of two state witnesses, Arthur Bradley
and Alfred Bello.
Both Bello and Bradley have recanted their testimony in which
they identified Carter and Artis, who are now seeking a new trial.
Bello said he saw Carter and Artis coming out of the Lafayette
Grill immediately after the murders. Bradley said he also saw
Carter at the crime scene.
"The description of the car and bullets found in the
car were more important," Mrs. Payne said Wednesday. The
projectiles were of the same caliber as those used in the shootings,
12 gauge and .32 caliber.
In addition, both Mrs. Payne and Matonak said the identification
of [the car driven by] the two men given by Mrs. Patricia Graham
Valentine did more to convict the men than anything else.
"Carter's witnesses told a plausible story," said
Matonak, referring to Carter's defense that he was with two women
at the time. "But when the girl said she was with Carter
at the same time he was being questioned at police headquarters,
I just knew she was lying."
Mrs. Payne said that she believed the alibis offered by Carter
and Artis "clashed."
Both Witnesses said the jury believed the testimony of Bello
and Bradley when the pair said they saw Carter and Artis coming
out of the Lafayette Grill moments after the murders, but because
of the criminal records of both men, their testimony was "taken
with a grain of salt" by the jury.
"I have no doubt in my mind that these men are guilty,"
Matonak said. "If they were framed, there were an awful
lot of people lying."
In addition, Matonak said he learned certain facts about the
case after the trial, which had they been admitted into evidence
would have definitely made the guilty verdict stand.
Matonak pressed for the death penalty along with one other
juror, whose name he did not give.
"If you had seen the way those people were shot you would
have too," he said. "The bartender was snapped in half
by that shotgun charge."
Jurors, however, voted for a first degree murder conviction
with life imprisonment.
Matonak said the only thing that bothered him about the case
was the circumstantial nature of the evidence. "It all hung
together," he said. "But I almost wished there had
been something a little more solid there."
He added if he had the same case presented to him today he
would again vote to convict.