Police: Joseph Green Brown, former Florida death row inmate, arrested for wife's murder

3:36 PM, Sep 17, 2012   |    comments
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV/AP) - A man charged with killing his wife in North Carolina had been freed from Florida's death row more than 25 years ago after his conviction on rape and murder charges was overturned.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police received calls Thursday night from people worried about a woman at who lived in an apartment complex.

Arriving officers found the body of Mamie Caldwell Brown, 71. Police say she suffered some kind of trauma.

On Friday afternoon, police issued a murder warrant for 62-year-old Joseph Green Brown, the victim's husband. Brown, who is known to use several aliases, including Shabaka WaQlimi, was arrested later that day in Charleston, South Carolina.

Detectives from Charlotte went to interview Brown in Charleston. He was then transported to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, where he remains in custody.

During a preliminary court hearing on Monday, a judge ordered the Brown held without bond until a hearing on September 26.

During the hearing, a daughter of Mamie Caldwell Brown shouted, "Oh, my God!"

Our sister station WBTV in Charlotte has learned that Brown was convicted in 1974 of raping and murdering Earlene Treva Barksdale, the wife of a prominent lawyer in Tampa, Florida.

Brown spent 13 years on death row before an eleventh-hour ruling saved his life. The Northwestern University School of Law published an article after charges against Brown were dropped just hours before his execution. It said he was released in 1987 when an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found the prosecution purposefully allowed false testimony at trial.

The article states that two witnesses falsely testified against Brown, and that the prosecution allowed it.

One witness, according to the article, testified that he and Brown had committed an unrelated robbery together. During cross-examination, the witness said that he had not been promised anything for his testimony. It was later found that witness struck a deal with the prosecution. 

The article also says that the prosecution falsely told the jury that a handgun Brown gave police when he was arrested was used in the crime. FBI ballistics tests eliminated that possibility.

A video on YouTube, entitled Speaking After Death Row, shows Brown talking about his trial and his time in prison. He is also seen talking to students and groups about the ordeal.

"We were taught at a young age that life is sacred," Brown says in the video, "I'm not against capital punishment, I'm not for capital punishment; I'm against killing."

If you have any information that may aid in this case, you're asked to call (704)432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective. You can also call CrimeStoppers at (704) 334-1600.

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