HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ordered the reinstatement of a jury’s convictions of Willie Tyler, age 68, formerly of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, of witness tampering by murder and witness tampering by intimidation.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the case involved the brutal murder of a law enforcement confidential informant from the Carlisle area. The victim was scheduled to testify in Cumberland County Court against David Tyler, the brother of the defendant, on the day of her murder. Willie Tyler planned to murder the victim, along with four other individuals, who were convicted for their role in the murder in previous federal and state court proceedings.
Tyler was first tried in state court in 1994, and acquitted of the murder. The case was then adopted for federal prosecution, and Tyler was convicted after a federal jury trial in 1996. The Third Circuit overturned Tyler’s conviction, and he was convicted again following a re-trial in 2000. In 2013, the Third Circuit overturned the 2000 conviction in light of a change in the law and remanded the case to the district court for a new trial. Tyler was then tried and convicted for the third time in July 2017. The jury returned its verdict after two hours of deliberation following a four-day trial.
In February 2018, the district court vacated the jury’s verdict, concluding that there was not sufficient evidence to support the convictions. Today, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s decision and remanded with instructions to reinstate the jury’s verdict and proceed to sentencing. Tyler’s conviction for witness tampering by murder carries a mandatory life sentence.
“Today we are one week shy of 28 years from the exact date that Doreen Proctor was beaten and murdered by the drug dealers that preyed upon her community,” said U.S. Attorney Freed. “Through one trial at the state level and three trials followed by years of appeals at the federal level, the dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors working on this case have never faltered in their efforts to achieve justice for Doreen. While it is certainly likely that more appeals are on the immediate horizon, we are pleased that this conviction has been reinstated and will continue to pursue this case until the end.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police with cooperation from the Carlisle Police Department. The case was prosecuted at the trial level by Assistant United States Attorneys Chelsea Schinnour and Joseph J. Terz and Special Assistant United States Attorney Gordon A. Zubrod. Assistant United States Attorneys Carlo D. Marchioli and Stephen R. Cerutti handled the appeal.
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