UPDATE:  Mayo Supporters Petition for Investigation of Prosecutorial Misconduct [pdf format]
William Jonathan Mayo

We the supporters of William Jonathan Mayo encourage you to lend your hearts to this tragic yet true account of an attempt to destroy this young, aspiring, man’s life.

William Jonathan Mayo is a native Cincinnatian.  He attended Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, graduating in 1984.   Very determined to make his life better, he decided to further his education and attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.  After receiving an Academic, Military Scholarship, he transferred to the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.  He majored in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice.  He worked to put himself through college as a plain-clothed store detective and as a cover model for magazines in Detroit and Chicago.  William appeared as a cover model on the April/May 1992 issue of  "Applause Magazine", a local magazine in Cincinnati, Ohio for “Cincinnati’s Black Lifestyle”.  He also appeared in Detroit’s Hot Black Men Calendar as Mr. July 1990.

While at Morehouse, William had several dreams.  One of the most important things to William was being part of the Mentoring Program.  This was a program designed by college students to help less fortunate children and teens get into college and improve their lives.  William was introduced to mentoring through his close college friend (Ennis Cosby), the late son of Bill Cosby.  Both Mayo and Cosby majored in Psychology and would have graduated together in May of 1992.  Instead, William began serving a life sentence in April 1992, for a crime he didn’t commit.

In 1990, while living in Chicago, William met two under privileged teenage young men.  It was Williams’s belief at heart that he could help make a difference in their lives by becoming their mentor.  In November of 1991, William drove the two young men from Chicago to Atlanta for the Morehouse College Homecoming weekend.  It was William’s hope that the visit would demonstrate to the young men what college life was like and to encourage them to seek a better life than what they were living in Chicago.  They arrived in Atlanta on November 3, 1991, making several stops on campus and around the city.  That evening, around 7:15 -7:30, William made a stop that would forever change his life.  William stopped to retrieve some clothing and personal items from an associate who had stored them for him until he could return from Chicago to pick them up.   The two young men accompanying William remained in the car while William picked up his belongings.  

During the time William was as his associates’ house these young men burglarized and robbed a home that was two doors away from the house were William was.  They terrorized a bi-racial couple for what had to seem like hours to them, but in actuality was about 10 - 20 minutes.  They stole small items from the couple and tied them up with telephone cord.  They were able to come back to the car just before William returned with his belongings.  William drove away without any knowledge that a crime had taken place.  The car was pulled over upon entry onto the interstate by police officers with their guns drawn.  William and the two (2) young men were arrested, taken into custody and charged with burglary, armed robbery and aggravated assault. SPECIAL NOTE:  It was at this point the police told the victims they had arrested three, (3) black men and found their property in the car; thus convincing the victims that all three (3) men were involved, instead of only two (2).  William was granted bond, which enabled him to return home to Cincinnati to wait his trial date.  William was never placed in a line-up or identified prior to trial by the victims.  When the victims were shown William’s arrest photograph, just hours after the crime had occurred, they still could not identify him.

On April 3, 1992, after a week long trial, and being represented by a state appointed attorney, William Jonathan Mayo was found guilty of five counts:  ONE BURGLARY CHARGE, TWO ARMED ROBBERY CHARGES AND TWO AGGRAVATED ASSAULT CHARGES.  Earlier in the trial the two young men pled guilty for a lesser sentence and testified as state witnesses against William Mayo.  Both received a twenty (20) year sentence after implicating William Mayo as the mastermind of the crime.

William J. Mayo was sentenced to two (2) life sentences for armed robbery, two twenty (20) year sentences for the aggravated assault charges, and twenty (20) years probation for the burglary charge; all to run concurrently with each other.  William maintained his innocence then and does so today.  During William’s trial letters were submitted from college administrators, employers and ministers attesting to his good character.  There was not a death or serious injuries as a result of the crime.   William had no previous police record or prior contact with authorities.  The type of sentence William received is clearly outrageous.  This type of sentence was not meant to punish but to destroy William’s life!  Note:  Both admittedly guilty young men received twenty (20) years for the same charges.

New counsel was hired and appeals were filed.  In September 1993, in a hearing for an Extraordinary Motion For A New Trial, the two young men came forward of their own accord and admitted that “William had nothing to do with the crime, nor was he aware of what they had done until their arrest;  “William Mayo is innocent”!  Much to everyone’s surprise in the courtroom, the same judge in Cobb County, Georgia who had previously sentenced William; denied his motion for a new trial.  

If William had been granted a new trial based on the testimony of the two (2) young men who had committed the crime, he would have been relieved of the charges, his conviction would have been overturned, and today William would be a free man.

In December 1995, a State Habeas Corpus Evidentiary Hearing was conducted and several witnesses testified again.  The two young men testified for a second time; they swore that they lied about William’s involvement in the crime that they committed.  They made a public apology to William and his family for the pain and suffering they had caused.  In spite of all the evidence clearing William’s name, the Judge in South Georgia refused to release William or even grant him a new trial.

William is now thirty-seven (37) years old and has been incarcerated in close and maximum-security prisons in Georgia for over eleven (11) years.  He has been in eleven (11) different prisons in Georgia and is currently at Central State Prison, in Macon, Georgia.  He has waited patiently for JUSTICE to prevail however the Georgia courts have tried to hide the facts in this case.  It is revealed that four (4) of William’s prior attorneys, rendered ineffective representation.   At least two of these Attorney’s admitted openly in court that they put “Mayo’s “ issues on the Back burner”, which is documented on transcript.  William’s supporters are currently raising funds to obtain counsel and a private investigator that will realize the injustices William has suffered and who will be willing to do all of the things necessary to overturn his conviction.  

An appeal was made to the Federal Court, U.S. Northern District of Atlanta, in 1998.  On July 21, 1999 the Magistrate Judge gave his report and recommendation to deny William’s Habeas Corpus action.  On August 9, 1999, the appeal went before the Federal Judge for final review and disposition.  The Federal Judge denied the Federal Habeas Corpus May 2000, and would not grant an application for Certificate of Appealability to the 11th Circuit Court.  William, through new counsel appealed to the 11th Circuit court for a Certificate of Appealability.  In December 2000, a denial was received from the 11th Circuit courts refusing to hear his case.

We have documentation that one of the state’s key witnesses (William’s would be alibi witness) not only testified falsely, but also under a false name, which the prosecutor knew or should have known at the time of the trial.  In fact, these state witnesses had outstanding criminal warrants in Cobb County, elsewhere in Georgia (under his real name and in the alias name that he testified under.   These warrants were issued in Cobb County, the same county where Mr. Mayo’s trial was held.  The warrant was dead docketed.  Through the diligent work of a private investigator we were able to obtain proof, (fingerprints, in both alias and birth names of this state’s key witness.)  

We have received a written Affidavit from one (1) of the young men who committed the crime that states, the gun used in the robbery belonged to him.  In an effort to get the gun out of his possession, he put in under the drivers’ seat once the police stopped the car.  During trial the State used the gun as evidence against Mr. Mayo even though the gun was not processed for fingerprints, or linked to him in any way.

We also discovered that another state’s witness, the second accomplice who committed the crime, co-defendant Dale Sentee Thomas, who is serving twenty (20) years on a guilty plea, is actually incarcerated under a false name.  His real name is Odell Santee Thornton.  A John Marshall High School (Chicago), student record verifies this.  This co-defendant has now given a written Affidavit that his real name is Odell Santee Thornton.  He further states in his Affidavit that the Prosecutor and Detectives offered him several favorable pleas bargain deals in exchange for testimony against Mr. Mayo.  He was told by the Detectives to “stick to his story and the name that he had given for his best benefit”.  This co-defendant had a criminal record under his real name in Chicago.  The State of Georgia concealed his true identity as part of a plea bargain and in an effort to use him as a state witness against William Mayo.  Any of the above knowledge or information would have made it very difficult to deem their testimony credible.  In spite of the truth that has been revealed, the State of Georgia has hidden the truth from the citizens and the Federal Courts, and will continue to if you don’t help us EXPOSE THE CORRUPTION.

Co-defendant Dale Thomas (Odell Thornton) wrote a letter to former Chairman of the Parole Board, Walter Ray, again admitting his own guilt and asking for the release of William Mayo who is innocent.  Dale Thomas also composed a letter of apology to the victims asking for their forgiveness and letting them know that William Mayo was not involved in the crime he committed against them.

William’s supporters have organized the WJM Innocence Coalition, Inc.   Supporters are in Long Island, California, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Oklahoma, New Orleans and Canada.  The WJM Innocence Coalition need your sincere support.  William wants his tragedy to be heard all over the World so that no one else has to suffer the injustice that he has.  WE are seeking supporters’ where ever they may be found.  If you believe in justice YOU are the person that we need.  We need your true support!!!

Media Attention for William’s Case
  •     National Television on The John Walsh Talk Show   9/25/2002
John Walsh of Americas Most Wanted featured William’s story on his new talk show “The John Walsh Show” When False Accusations Put You Behind Bars, which aired on September 25, 2002 – See show details at johnwalsh.tv

John Walsh stated… "I'm absolutely convinced this guy has gotten a bum rap and at the very least deserves a new trial,"
  •     WMAZ Channel 13 in Macon, Georgia – (Did not Air)
  •    The Cincinnati & Kentucky Enquirers, The Cincinnati Post & The Cincinnati City Beat Magazine
  •     The Dept. of Corrections has now banned all further interviews for William J. Mayo
    Could this be due to the many media inquiries into this case of wrongful conviction?
According to the statement made by Dept. of Corrections Facilities Director James Doctor at a Justice Forum held at Ft. Valley College “It doesn’t serve the Ga. Dept. of Corrections for someone to be incarcerated who doesn’t belong there. The Dept. of Corrections doesn’t have the power to open the gates or determine innocence or guilt but they can grant interviews.”
William Mayo’s supporters want to know why The Dept. of Corrections changed their minds.

For More Information Contact:
WJM Innocence Coalition, Inc.
Kimberly Todd, President - Atlanta Region

WJM Innocence Coalition, Inc.
Ms. Erica L. Farris, V. President - Cincinnati Region
513-251-2517 or 513-476-8735

Project Coordinators
Dawn Wach – Long Island Region

Saad Kiyani – Toronto, Canada

You can make your donations by mail at William’s defense fund at:
Fifth Third Bank
WJM Freedom Ministry, Inc. Acct. # 371-17843
3760 Paxton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio   45208
W.J.M. Innocence Coalition, Inc., is a non-profit charitable organization, all contributions made to this organization are tax deductible under the Law.

William’s full story may found on line at:

Send Comments To:

Please write letters of encouragement to:
Mr. William J. Mayo - E.F. #693216
Central State Prison – E1
4600 Fulton Mill Road
Macon, GA  31208
Updated: MAY 2003
Innocent Imprisoned
Truth in Justice