Teen's murder conviction questioned, sole eyewitness was legally blind

Teen's murder conviction questioned, sole eyewitness was legally blind

CHICAGO — The family of a Chicago teenager convicted of murder is begging prosecutors to take a second look into his case after a key court witness was found to be legally blind. It's a fact that never came up during the trial.

"The guy I seen, he did the shooting. And I stand by that," lead prosecution witness Dexter Saffold told WBBM.

The only video from the June 2011 shooting came from a gas station. The video is not clear as the shooter, who gets dropped off in a car, runs across the scene, and then fire shots off camera.

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Chicago police arrived to find a man fatally wounded.

Saffold picked Darien Harris, 18, out of a lineup and identified him as the shooter.


The high school senior had no criminal record, but soon found himself charged, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 76 years in prison just a few weeks shy of graduation.

Nakesha Harris said she had big dreams for her son "and those dreams were taken away from me by the sole testimony of a blind man who said my son committed a crime."

Harris is talking about an unrelated federal disability lawsuit filed by Saffold years earlier, back in 2003, in which two doctors attested to the fact that Saffold is legally blind and had been for at least a decade before the shooting. Those lawsuits never came up during the trial.

"[The prosecution] didn't do anything wrong because I didn't have to tell nobody about my medical history," said Saffold. He said he stands by his testimony that he saw Darien Harris pull the trigger. He also confirmed to WBBM that those medical records were authentic.

"I got glaucoma due to an eye disease," said Saffold, confirming a doctor told him he was unable to drive as stated in the medical records as: "Dextor Saffold is legally and industrially blind."

Another witness who said he was the one who called 911 after shots were fired that day also questions Saffold's timing and positioning at the crime scene.

Harris' attorney pointed out a figure on a scooter in the video, who appears to be Saffold, rolling by more than a minute after the fatal shots were fired.

Based on the additional evidence and accounts, Harris and his family have one wish, "We're asking, we're begging, we're pleading for Ms. Foxx and her office to really to review this case with an unbiased eye. Please send my baby home," said Darien's mother.

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx says her Conviction Integrity Unit is reviewing the case.

Harris maintains that he's innocent and claims he was at home at the time of the shooting.