October 28, 1996

Mr. Jason Baldwin,

Since I am in possession of information which, if pursued through legal avenues, could well impact your personal situation with regard to a future reopening of your case, I strongly suggest that you not only answer this letter, but forward me the name and address of the attorney who represented you at trial.

As the credits on this page attest, I am a musician/songwriter of national note. During March or April, 1994, I chanced to be in Jonesboro, and while passing the ‘Forum’ building, I picked up a kid who later told me is Michael Carson. As a homosexual, I was interested in him as a potential sexual partner, and I was not disappointed. In any event, at first Carson resisted my advances on the ground that he had been in trouble in the past, and didn’t want to go back to ‘Craighead’ whatever that is. When I told him I had a life sentence and was on parole, and had just returned from Mena, Arkansas to see a former cellmate named Otis Strain who had been at the Kentucky State Penitentiary with me in 1978-79, Carson, feeling he could trust me since I’ve been in prison off and on since 1965, opened up and told me all about his problems with the law.

He said he was addicted to dope and had been reduced to burglaries to support his habits. We the smoked some weed, and then he started asking questions about law when I told him I had about 25 year's experience as an assigned legal aide while in prison. Specifically, he wanted to know the maximum penalty for perjury. I told him that in Kentucky the penalty was 5 years and I assumed it would the same in Arkansas.

Curious, I sort of pressed him for details, and his reasons for being concerned about the penalty for perjury. Well, at this point he told me about being in jail with you and he had what he called a ’bad conscience’ because he had lied on a boy in court about some kids being killed around Memphis. When I told him I recalled reading something about the case in 1993, he started crying and said ’Jason didn‘t tell me nothing’ and that the only reason he lied was to get in good with the cops who wanted to nail him on a few things.

Mr. Baldwin, Michael Carson was either lying about all of this, or he just felt really bad about his role in the case and wanted to get it off his chest. While I did not forget our conversations, I did sort of put it out of mind until I remembered that a Jason Baldwin was supposed to be involved in the Memphis killings. For a long time afterward I didn't think too much about this sexual encounter and verbal transaction, but eventually it dawned on me that Carson had confessed to me that his lies had caused a person to go to prison, and this is not only illegal, but downright morally wrong. Now, I can help you, rest assured I will but it would have to be done through your attorney if you have one. If not, since I have plenty of money, I just might hire you a lawyer to reopen this case. A conviction based on perjured testimony is unconstitutional especially where, as here, the prosecutor used the testimony knowing it was a lie. (Carson insisted that the prosecutor knew it was all a lie, but told him he couldn't be helped if he didn't help out with the State’s case).

Send me your mom’s address for I want to contact here about this. Also, you tell me what kind of sentence you received, and what the Arkansas court of Appeals or Supreme court done about your appeals. If the state courts have finalized your appeals, then you have one year to apply in the Federal court for a petition for a Writ of habeas Corpus. I’m an expert on Federal habeas--if your lawyer has abandoned the case I can and will prosecute a habeas from our offices here. Meanwhile, you write back and send me your trial lawyer’s name & address. Send him this letter for he probably will want to contact me.

Johnny Preston
Kentucky State Reformatory