In July of 1992, Cyrus was robbed at gunpoint by a young man by the name of Christopher "Crip" Luckett near the Edgehill Housing Projects in South Nashville. Mr. Luckett stole his car and stripped the car of the stereo system, rims, and tires. Cyrus flagged down patrol officer, Andy Wright, in the neighborhood and reported the robbery. Because he was 17, he was not able to press charges against Mr. Luckett. Cyrus's mother would not press charges. His car was found a few days later and was towed to the impound lot. After Cyrus claimed his car, it was towed to his aunt's house from the impound lot because the car was inoperable. His aunt's house was located in North Nashville near the campus of Tennessee State University. The car was never repaired.
On the night of September 16, 1992, Christopher Luckett was shot and killed near the Edgehill Housing Projects in South Nashville.
After Mr. Luckett was murdered, the police questioned several people, mostly juveniles from the neighborhood where the murder took place. Detectives questioned Rodriguez Lee and he gave conflicting statements to the police several times. His initial statement was that Cyrus and Benji, who was Cyrus’s best friend at the time, were together and they pulled up in Cyrus’s car, opened the trunk, got the gun and chased Mr. Luckett around the building and shot him. When Mr. Luckett was shot, Benji was in a juvenile detention facility on an unrelated charge, also Cyrus’s car was still parked at his aunt’s house and was still unable to be driven. The detectives realized this could not be the case and instead of pursuing other leads, they continued to focus on Cyrus because of the earlier altercation between him and Mr. Luckett.
Once again the detectives interviewed Mr. Lee and he changed his story again. This time he was with Cyrus and Rashim and they saw Mr. Luckett and chased him around the building and Cyrus shot him. At this time, the detectives brought in Rashim Williams, who is Cyrus’s cousin, for questioning. They told Rashim they knew he was there when Mr. Luckett was murdered and if he did not tell them everything, he and Mr. Lee would be charged for the murder and locked up for the rest of their lives. Rashim called Cyrus from the police station and told him they were trying to charge him with murder and Cyrus needed to come and talk to the detectives to straighten everything out.
In the meantime, the detectives had also questioned Marquis Harris. In Mr. Harris’s original statement to police, he stated he saw Cyrus shoot Mr. Luckett from his bedroom window and then he went to sleep and when he got up in the morning, he saw Cyrus with bloody clothes on in the neighborhood. Cyrus’s mother told him he should talk with the detectives to clear his name. On September 18, 1992, five days after his 18th birthday, he spoke with detectives and was arrested for criminal homicide. According to the detectives, they already had knowledge of a so called plot to collectively murder Christopher Luckett, and Rashim, Rodriguez and Marquis had already admitted to it and said that Cyrus killed Mr. Luckett.
Cyrus waived his right to an attorney because he felt he did not need one. He knew he had done nothing wrong. He explained his whereabouts on the night in questions. He was at the basketball court and then he met up with his girlfriend around 9 pm and they were together until the next morning. She was the only alibi witness that was called at his trial, although he provided his public defender the names of several people who were also at the basketball court on the night of the murder. Young and naïve, they assumed by telling the truth, the law would be on their side. Unfortunately, they had no idea how wrong they would be.
Cyrus was held in the Davidson County Jail for almost 2 years, before he went to trial on January 31, 1994. At trial, RodriguezLee would testify that he never saw Cyrus on the night of the murder, at which point the trial was stopped and a 'jury-out" was held. With the jury out of the courtroom District Attorney Kimberly Hattaway-Hass asked Mr. Lee if he recognized anyone in the courtroom from Edgehill Village apartments and he said yes. She then asked if anyone had approached him or threatened him and he said no. So she asked Mr. Lee why he was attempting to commit perjury. The judge stopped her and said to her that he had not committed perjury yet, because you have not finished questioning him. The D.A. then asked him about everything she had already gone over with him before trial.
Afterwards the jury was ushered back in for a second time in order to hear Mr. Lee's new testimony. His new testimony would now be that he saw Cyrus drive up in his car, get the 12 gauge he had given Cyrus from his house out of the trunk and chase Mr. Luckett down and shoot him. At this point, Benji Amos, Cyrus’s supposed accomplice had been conveniently excluded from his testimony. He would later testify under cross examination that Benji was there with Cyrus. Marquis Harris would testify that he would witness the murder from a window at his house. Will Birch, C.S.I. and state witness, would later discredit Harris's testimony by stating that it was not possible to see the scene of the crime at all from Harris's house. Marquis Harris would be why Cyrus started his own investigation. Mr. Harris wrote a letter to Cyrus’s family apologizing for the role he played in his wrongful conviction.
Since Cyrus’s trial, our lives have been consumed with one mission, TO PROVE CYRUS'S INNOCENCE. Over the past 20 years we has striven incessantly to bring forth any and all information in his case that will prove his innocence. In 2007 we were able to obtain the personal file of the District Attorney in his trial. We were also able to obtain the detectives file on his case. In August of 2009, his first writ of error corum nobis was filed. It contained former District Attorney Kimberly Hattaway-Haas "Resume of Facts" were she had stated that the witnesses were juveniles who had "lied repeatedly", signed and dated it with notations of Rodriguez Lee's name and name of Marquis Harris and addresses and numbers of how they could be reached.
We have now learned with the collection of uncovered evidence over the years the D.A. was at least aware that all of the witnesses were unreliable at best. These are factual events that took place and how those events rendered the circumstances that would ultimately taint and prejudice the jury against Cyrus, and secure an illegal conviction for the State of Tennessee. Together they would build a case based on lies, deceit, and the omission of scientific evidence and the coercion of several different scared teens through the tactics of intimidation.
- Christopher Luckett robbed Cyrus at gunpoint Mr. Luckett was killed in close vicinity to where Cyrus lived and it was never mentioned that Mr. Luckett lived in walking distance of the same complex as well as the one in which he was killed. So not only did he frequent them both, but he had a notorious reputation for robbing and stealing from people in both areas as well. We are certain that these facts did not escape the D.A. or the detectives in Cyrus’s case, but only they can truly explain why they chose to ignore them especially in light of the scientific gun evidence that would prove his innocence.
- It is very well documented that Rodriguez Lee did positively identify the murder weapon as Cyrus’s. There was and never has been any doubt at all about whether or not the gun that was tested by the T.B.I. crime lab was the alleged murder weapon identified by Rodriguez Lee.
- There is nor has there ever been any scientific/forensic evidence against Cyrus. He was convicted on the statements of 2 teenagers, who were portrayed as scared children at trial, with no mention of their prior criminal history. These 2 boys were shackled outside the courtroom every day of the trial because they were in juvenile custody but this was never brought to the attention of the jury. Although, Cyrus was brought into the courtroom with his hands and feet shackled every day of the trial. The DA went out of her way to make it seem all of the juveniles involved in the case were scared of Cyrus, which was not the case. All of the juveniles went on the have lengthy arrest records.
Cyrus deserves his day in court with a fair and impartial trial. His civil rights are violated every day that he in incarcerated, which amounts to almost 8,400 days of his life.