Updates and Upcoming

More on Derrick Chappell's Case

Derrick Chappell and co-defendants Sam Grasty and Morton Johnson were convicted for the 1997 murder of Henrietta Nickens in Delware County. Derrick was just 15 years old at the time of the crime and still a teenager when convicted. He and his co-defendants have maintained their innocence throughout more than 25 years of incarceration.

In Summer 2023, a Delaware County judge held evidentiary hearings, where Derrick and his co-defendants presented new DNA evidence that shows another person committed the crime for which the "Chester Three" were convicted. As the Washington Post reported at the time, "Alan Keel, a consultant in forensic biology and DNA analysis, testified before a courtroom packed with the three men's family and friends that the new tests did not find the men's DNA on a range of items in Nickens's apartment."

The judge overturned their convictions and ordered a new trial. The prosecution is appealing this decision. A bail hearing was set for May 23rd, but it has been canceled. In its place, a virtual community meeting will be held at 9am on May 23rd, to gather family and community members and organizations interested in supporting Derrick and his co-defendants while they endure this next phase of their journey through wrongful conviction - what will likely be a lengthy appeal. You can join the community meeting here.

This case has generated a lot of publicity since the summer. We share several links to media coverage below and will continue to round up links to more information. Check back often and keep up with case updates here:

CNN coverage of this case

Washington Post on the March 2024 order for new trials

Washington Post on the July 2023 evidentiary hearing

Delaware County Times on March 2024 updates

Delaware County Times on the July 2023 evidentiary hearing

The New York Times on the July 2023 evidentiary hearing

Philadelphia Inquirer on the March 2024 order for new trials

Philadelphia Inquirer on the July 2023 evidentiary hearing

Nilam Sanghvi represents Derrick Chappell along with Amelia Maxfield of the Exoneration Project, John Lyons of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, and David Haase of Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP. The Innocence Project represents Morton Johnson and Centurion represents Sam Grasty.

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