Quisi Bryan, who was convicted in February 2001 of murdering Police Officer Wayne Leon in Cleveland, Ohio, has been granted a new trial. Bryan’s attorneys are citing Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), stating that the prosecution’s removal of a black member of the jury caused racial disparity among the jurors during the original trial.
According to NewsNet 5 in Cleveland, Officer Leon pulled Bryan over on June 25, 2000. What was intended to be a routine traffic stop turned deadly when Bryan pulled out a gun and shot Leon in the face. Bryan fled with his girlfriend, but was found in Columbus, Ohio the next day. WKYC Channel 3 of Cleveland reports that at the time, Bryan was out on parole from a 10-year sentence for an attempted robbery in 1995. He was eventually found guilty of aggravated murder, attempted murder, attempted robbery, possessing weapons under disability, carrying a concealed weapon, tampering with evidence, and theft, and was sentenced to death.
Fox 8 News of Cleveland reports that while on death row, in February 2014, Bryan was also convicted of a rape and kidnapping that occurred in 1994, and sentenced to 20-50 years in prison. Investigators now think that Leon’s murder was Bryan’s attempt to cover up the rape, because he feared that he would be identified.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty released the following statement:
“Quisi Bryan’s conviction for shooting Cleveland Police Officer Wayne Leon during a routine traffic stop has been upheld repeatedly by every court that has ever reviewed this case for the last 15 years. It is likely that today’s decision to reverse that conviction will itself be reversed, but even if it is not, I am extremely confident that a jury will again convict Quisi Bryan and return him to death row. This case is even stronger now than it was 15 years ago. Since Officer Leon was murdered in cold blood, we have learned that Bryan killed Officer Leon not over a routine traffic stop, but because Bryan was a serial rapist who feared being identified as the man who had sexually assaulted five different women in that area. He has since been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for those crimes. For killing Officer Wayne Leon, Quisi Bryan belongs on death row.”