This week's feature story, "The Wrong Man," details the extraordinary efforts of Dawud Malik to prove he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for two murders that occurred in the Central District in 1967 as part of a violent-crime spree with a man named Leodis Smith. Documents provided to Seattle Weekly by Malik's attorney confirm that Charles Daniel, the man Smith has since claimed was his actual partner in crime rather than Malik, died in a botched gas-station robbery in 1968.
Despite having admitted to his role in the robbery and assault of the Hagans, Malik has maintained from the moment he was arrested that he had nothing to with the other crimes committed by Smith. And the more educated he became during his imprisonment, the harder he fought to prove his innocence.Here are two of three sworn statements written by Smith:Leodis Smith Affidavit
In 1977, Malik reached out to Smith and asked him to compose a sworn statement declaring that he was not Smith's partner in crime. Smith went on to author three affidavits, eventually declaring that his accomplice was actually a man named Charles Daniel. In 1995, Smith wrote that Daniel was a dark-skinned black man with an athletic build and a light mustache who also lived in the Central District.
"In contrast to me, Charles Daniel was much shorter," wrote Smith. "Because of Charles' size and build, Dawud would be mistaken for Charles."
Smith, currently serving a life sentence at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center, believed that Daniel died in Vietnam. But documents obtained last month by Malik's attorney reveal that Daniel actually died on October 1, 1969, in a botched gas-station robbery. According to a death certificate from the King County Coroner's Office, Daniel was six feet tall and weighed 130 pounds. Police records indicate that Daniel had a lengthy criminal record that included armed robberies.
And here is a copy of Daniels' death certificate, as faxed to the King County Prosecutor's office by an investigator in 1997 when Malik's case was pending before the Washington's Clemency and Pardons board. Note that the investigator points out that Daniel was a full six inches taller than Malik. However, both Smith and Malik argue that Daniel was still shorter than Smith (who stands 6 feet 3 inches), and also had a similar complexion and facial features.Charles Daniel Death Certificate Click to read the rest of the story: "Is Dawud Malik the Wrong Man? 44 years after being sentenced for murders he says he didn't commit, freedom might come with a cost: ignoring his innocence."