In The Matter Of Donovan Drayton: A Timeline and Factsheet

July 25, 2013. Donovan has been cleared of all but one lesser charge! We will update the site soon. THANK YOU for your support!!!
Read our statement on the verdicts here

DATE OF ARREST: October 12, 2007

Donovan spent more 5 years incarcerated without bail, most of them on Riker’s island. His pre-trial hearings were adjourned 39 times. He was 19 when he was arrested. Donovan turned 25 on January 14, 2013.

DONOVAN’S FIRST TRIAL OCCURRED FROM JUNE 20 to JULY 18, 2011.

BAIL GRANTED: October 2012.
Just over 5 years after his arrest and more than a year after his first trial, Donovan was granted bail following an appeal to the NY State Supreme Court.
He is currently at home with his family preparing for his second trial.

THE CHARGES & VERDICTS

These Charges against Donovan resulted in ‘Not Guilty’ or ‘Hung Jury’ verdicts.

NOT GUILTY VERDICTS:

  • First Degree Murder
  • Criminal Possession of a murder weapon (A 38 pistol)
  • Manslaughter In The First Degree

HUNG JURY VERDICTS

  • Two Counts of Attempted Robbery
  • Criminal Possession of an alleged 45 pistol (no such weapon was ever presented or entered into evidence by Prosecutor Clark)
  • Two counts of Attempted Robbery
  • One Count of Robbery
  • Felony Murder (Being alleged an accomplice )

Donovan’s 2nd trial on the remaining charges is currently scheduled to begin June 26, 2013.
Please  visit & bookmark the calendar page for updates

What is Felony Murder?

A murder committed in the act of a robbery.
One need not be the shooter, or even at the scene, to be accused of Felony Murder. Being proven part of the conspiracy to commit the crime is enough.
No forensic evidence placing Donovan at the scene– or his having ever been in cahoots with Mr White and Mr Glover to commit ANY criminal activity– was presented at the trial by the prosecution.

What was the ethnic make-up of the jury?

The jury was comprised of:

  • 1 Asian male
  • 1 African-American male
  • 3 Hispanic women
  • 3 African-American women
  • 3 non-Hispanic white males.

What did the jurors communicate to Donovan’s family after the trial?

The jurors told them that with one exception they all believed Donovan was innocent of all charges and should have gone home after the first trial. Were it not for the one hold-out, the single juror in agreement with the Prosecution’s case, Donovan would have come home on July 18th, 2011

Who represents The Court in this case?

Assistant DA Sean Clarke is the prosecutor. Judge Robert McGann presided over the first trial. They both handle a substantial amount of the murder cases which come through the Queens County Courthouse.

After the verdict what happened next?

We asked for bail immediately and were refused: Judge McGann never gave the family his reasons for remanding Donovan back to Riker’s, where remained until October 2012. The Judge also improperly instructed the jury to consider a charge which was not even on the Prosecution’s original list. This is how ‘Manslaughter In The First’ became added to Donovan’s Hung Jury counts.

Who are the others involved in the case? (Was Donovan charged alone?)

Donovan was charged with the convicted shooter in the case, Craig Glover.
Also charged and convicted in the case was Jason White, who confessed to driving Mr Glover to the crime scene and to planning the robbery with Mr Glover.
The DA’s other witness in the case is Anthony Wright, who lived in the home where the murder committed by Mr Glover took place.

What was the police testimony given during the trial?

Several NYPD detectives took the stand during the trial. Not one presented any forensic evidence which implicated Donovan as having been at scene when the robbery and murder took place or his having ever plotted with Glover and White to commit the crimes.

The immunized and tainted testimony against Donovan by Jason White and Anthony Wright – two known criminals, who’ve confessed to several other crimes in the community, forms the entire basis of the DA’s case against Donovan.
If you believe them, then you might find Donovan guilty in the absence of other evidence.

If you don’t believe the testimony of White and Wright,  Donovan is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.  No one on his trial jury except for one juror believed White and Wright were capable of even casual truth telling.

The trial revealed that a remarkable lack of forensic evidence had been gathered by police detectives on the day of the murder, or anytime afterwards. No fingerprints, blood samples, bullets or bullet marks were sent in for police lab investigation by ANYONE in the chain of command assigned to the case. This applied to the illegal assault weapon and ammunition found in Mr Wright’s room in the house in question.. The only shell casings brought to court were from the 45 pistol owned by Mr Wright, which were found in his room in the house where the crime occurred.

During the trial, Prosecutor Clark presented evidence gathered from the house 4 YEARS AFTER THE CRIME that was meant to shore up the credibility of Mr Wright’s claims of having seen Donovan and Craig Glover shooting from the sidewalk into the front yard from his third floor bedroom. The sight lines from Wright’s bedroom window were shown by the Defense to have made such identifications a virtual impossibility on Mr Wright’s part.

What are Mr Glover and Mr White’s current status?

Craig Glover was convicted of felony murder, without a trial, as he accepted a plea deal of 18 years for the murder charge and 5 years for home invasion.
Jason White took what is known as a ‘sweet deal ‘ of seven years from the DA for agreeing to testify against Donovan and will serve this shortened sentence if Donovan is convicted.

During Donovan’s trial Mr White was shown by Defense Counsel to have a propensity for committing perjury in the witness box over the most minor matters of fact. Mr White also admitted to having spent most of his days with Mr Glover for over a year planning and executing robberies, one of which included an earlier robbery of the home where the murder occurred, –six months prior.  Mr White was provided immunity from prosecution of this crime by Prosecutor Clark on the day of his testimony against Donovan. During the trial, Mr White accused Donovan of owning the weapons used in the crime. The prosecution did not one offer one shred of physical or forensic evidence to support this claim during the trial. On the witness stand however, Mr White admitted to keeping a ‘weapons stash’ of his own in the neighborhood.

The other witness against Donovan, brought forth by the DA at the trial, was Anthony Wright. Wright sold drugs from a home which was also functioned as illegal day care center. Mr Wright had been robbed of drugs and money by Mr Glover and Mr White on ‘Superbowl Sunday’ in January 2007 from this abode. Mr Glover and Mr White have admitted to returning to rob Mr Wright again on the day of the shooting.
During trial, Mr Glover, the convicted shooter, was brought to the trial from prison as a witness for The Defense. He was prepared to testify to Donovan’s non-involvement and innocence of all charges but was denied this opportunity to tell his story through no fault of his own by the court.

Mr Wright, the drug dealer who White and Glover had robbed previously, initiated the mêlée with his gunfire. He faces pending charges of gun possession (a 45 caliber automatic) , owning and firing an illegal AK 47 in a residential neighborhood, as well as assorted ammunition (including 45 caliber rounds),a half pound of marijuana and was found to be in possession of a large sum of cash.

If Donovan is convicted, Mr Wright’s deal with the DA guarantees he will not be prosecuted on these charges. Mr Wright has remained A FREE MAN throughout this process–even though illegal weapons, illegal ammunition and illegal drugs were found in his room on the day of the murder. He is currently a defendant in a 30-count indictment for drugs, illegal handguns, money and tax fraud in a separate case in South Queens.
(This implies a confidential informant status)

What kind of plea deal was Donovan offered by the DA?

Donovan was offered a plea deal of 18 years which he declined in favor of his jury trial.

What are Donovan’s dreams & aspirations post-trial?

Donovan’s first dream is to be home with his father and family. He will return to his academic studies and formal music training in percussion and music production.
He also hopes to spread the message about the mental and physical damages of unjust incarceration.