LMPD detective looks into inmate's innocence claims

Published: Sep. 27, 2011 at 1:48 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2011 at 5:04 AM EDT
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Kerry Porter
Kerry Porter
Sgt. Denny Butler
Sgt. Denny Butler
Tyrone Camp
Tyrone Camp
The scene of Tyrone Camp's 1996 murder on Shipp Street
The scene of Tyrone Camp's 1996 murder on Shipp Street

WEST LIBERTY, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville man is asking the parole board to reconsider his case, but what he'd really like is to be completely exonerated. Kerry Porter has been in prison for more than a decade for the 1996 murder of Tyrone Camp, but his claims of innocence have sparked a new investigation.

In small West Liberty, on appropriately-named Road To Justice Way, thoughts of freedom consume Porter's days in prison.

"I have law work under my bed, sometimes it falls out onto my cell in the middle of the night," he said. "I wake up with law and I go to bed with law. I go to the library almost every day. It's law in, law out. I do law work 18 hours a day."

Porter is convinced the jury that convicted him of murdering Camp didn't hear all of his defense. His lawyers said at trial that Camp's wife and her new boyfriend had a reason to want Camp dead.

"The jurors didn't hear everything that Cecilia had to say," Porter said, "the amount of insurance money benefit, whether or not she was having an affair with Juan Sanders."

Despite Porter's claims, right now Sanders is not facing any charges for Camp's death and neither is Camp's former wife.

Porter will tell anyone who will listen that he's "actually innocent," which doesn't make him any different from most inmates at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional complex except that since 2006, Porter has the Kentucky Innocence Project working his case.

"They believed in me pretty much from the very beginning," Porter said. "You can kind of see when people believe in you and support what you're saying."

The Innocence Project and the Department of Public Advocacy have a pretty good working relationship with Louisville Metro Police Department detective, Sergeant Denny Butler.

"Their credibility is sort of on the line too," Butler said. "They're not going to call us every day saying, 'Hey we've got another person claiming they're innocent.'"

For only the second time in his career, Butler is reinvestigating a case where someone has already been convicted of murder.

"We owe it not only to the public, we owe it to Mr. Porter, but we owe it for justice," Butler said. "That's what we're here for and if, we've got it wrong or if something was wrong, and if we can right it, I think we have a duty to do that."

Butler won't go into details of his investigation, but said it involves both forensics and old fashioned detective work.

"I guess there's no rule book or playbook on how to do it," Butler said.

"Denny Butler is an unusual person," Porter said. "I watch him on the First 48 and he is very persistent, he is going to get to the bottom of this, wherever the cards fall."

When asked, Porter lets himself imagine what it would be like to walk out of prison. He said the first things he hopes for are, "food, good food, real food, hot food, good friends, like I said, a good cry - I need a good cry - hugs, kisses, seeing people that I've never met."

Porter also realizes the world now is different than the world he lived in.

"Now I'm all the way lost," he said. 'Blackberry, phones, iPods and all of this. I've seen a flat-screen TV two or three months ago for the first time, touched one and stuff."

Porter knows the drugs that helped bring him down before haven't gone away.

"Oh, yeah, there's plenty of temptation," Porter said. "I'm older now, wiser now. I've always loved education and I plan on either going for ... I want to be a plumber and/or paralegal. I've been doing this law work too long so I'm going to stick with that."

Butler said he is waiting on some test results, but can't say how long it might take for those to come back. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said last month that the investigation was moving in the direction of clearing Porter, but says for now, it's in Butler's hands.

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