Man seeks to have conviction overturned with new testimony

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A Gary man testified that a now-dead man gave him a video recording of his confession to killing five people in 2000, a crime for which another man is serving 300 years in prison.

Cleveland C. Bynum, 37, was convicted of murder in 2001 for the shooting deaths of Angela Wallace, 24, and her sister Suzanne Wallace, 34, who were both from Gary. Bynum, then 22, was also convicted of killing 37-year-old Sheila R. Bartee and 24-year-old Anthony Jeffers, also from Gary, and Elizabeth Daily-Ayers, 37, of Hobart.

Bynum’s attorney, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Frances Watson, filed a successive petition for post-conviction relief in 2016 for Bynum, who maintains his innocence and is seeking to overturn his conviction. Lake Criminal Magistrate Judge Natalie Bokota on Monday heard testimony for the relief, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

Roger Shannon testified Gerald Mathews gave him a cellphone that contained a video recording of Mathews confessing to killing the five people. Shannon said in his testimony that Mathews instructed him to provide the video and his confession letter to the proper authorities if something happened to him. Shannon testified that he mailed the cellphone to Watson after Mathews was killed in 2014.

In the video, Mathews said he killed first killed a woman named Liz and another named Sheila, and killed three other people to prevent them from reporting him to authorities. He said he knew an “innocent man” was serving time for the killings, and he hoped the families could find it in their hearts to forgive him.

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