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Man Confesses To Five-Year Old Robbery For Which Another Was Jailed

March 31, 1985

DALLAS (AP) _ A man has testified that he held up a suburban fast food restaurant in 1979 - a crime for which another man is now serving a 50-year prison term.

Stephen L. Russell, 32, was convicted in the September 1979 robbery of a Long John Silver’s restaurant in Garland, despite testimony that he was with his mother at the time.

At a hearing Friday concerning an application by Russell’s attorneys for a new trial, Robert E. Wilkie said he robbed the restaurant. Wilkie’s attorney, Robert Boydston, noted that the five-year statute of limitations has expired.

Special magistrate Fred McDaniel, who conducted the hearing, will recommend to a state district judge a course of action on the request for a new trial, and the judge will refer the request to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Chris Reeves, the restaurant’s manager at the time of the robbery, said at Friday’s hearing that four witnesses to the robbery were led to believe at Russell’s trial in March 1980 that ″we were there to do the police department a favor and get rid of this person.″

Reeves said he picked a picture of Wilkie from a photograph lineup but changed his identification because he believed Garland police were dissatisfied with his choice.

He said he was ″99 percent″ certain that Earl Wilkie was the bandit.

Brad Lollar, the lead prosecutor in the case, testified that he did not withhold any information from Russell’s defense.

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