Jury discounted testimony of witnesses
who identified Carter, Artis

Juror says "an awful lot of people lying"
if Carter and Artis were framed

Published in The Herald-News, Passaic-Clifton, N.J., 1975

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.

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