Former death row inmate McCoy files lawsuit against state

Isaiah W. McCoy

DOVER — Claiming an unfair conviction for an alleged murder in 2010, former death row inmate Isaiah W. McCoy filed a federal lawsuit against the state and former officials last week.

According to the Associated Press Wednesday, Mr. McCoy claims he was wrongfully and maliciously investigated, prosecuted and incarcerated.

Mr. McCoy also claims state police and prosecutors knew or should have known he was innocent of the 2010 murder of James Munford, but nevertheless investigated and prosecuted him, the AP reported. The lawsuit listed the cause of action as a violation of Mr. McCoy’s constitutional and civil rights.

After a conviction and ensuing death sentence in 2012, the Delaware Supreme Court cited mistakes by a judge and prosecutor during trial when ordering a new trial. In January, Mr. McCoy was found not guilty by now-retired Superior Court Judge Robert B. Young in a bench trial.

Defendants in the suit included original prosecutors David R. Favata and Deborah Weaver, Attorney General Matt Denn, Deputy Attorneys General Greg Babowal and Stephen Smith, Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., former Department of Correction Commissioner Robert M. Coupe, Delaware State Police Detective Mark Ryde, former James T. Vaughn Correctional Center Warden David Pierce, Marcello Rispoli and two correctional officers identified as “Drace” and “Gill.”

In the lawsuit filed July 28, a Delaware Supreme Court decision to suspend Mr. Favata from practicing law for six months and a day was noted.

Kent County Superior Court President Judge William L. Withham Jr. oversaw Mr. McCoy’s jury trial five years ago.

Asked for comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, the Delaware Department of Justice released a statement through spokesman Carl Kanefsky:

“With respect to Mr. McCoy’s re-trial on murder charges in 2017, the Department of Justice has stated previously that it was disappointed with the outcome of Mr. McCoy’s murder trial, but respected the decision of the court.

“David Favata has not worked for the Department of Justice since March 2015, approximately 60 days after the Supreme Court’s findings as to his conduct during Mr. McCoy’s first trial. The circumstances of his departure are a personnel matter which DOJ cannot discuss.

“The Delaware Supreme Court noted in a June 28, 2016 opinion that the Department of Correction had indicated that Mr. McCoy’s conditions of confinement while he awaited his 2017 trial were based in part on his extensive prior criminal record, including prior attempted escapes, and his misconduct while incarcerated.”

Mr. McCoy’s attorney Herbert Mondros declined comment Wednesday.

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