November 8, 2018, John N. Mitchell - Philly Tribune
City Councilman David Oh on Wednesday filed a petition with Gov. Tom Wolf seeking to pardon long-incarcerated Eric Riddick due to “evidence obtained after his conviction” that proves he did not murder his childhood friend.
In June, Oh led Council in adopting a resolution calling on Wolf to pardon Riddick, who has been in jail since 1992, when he was convicted of the 1991 shooting of William Catlett. The filing of the petition formally begins the pardon process, which can take two to three years.
“This is the first time that a petition has been filed for the governor to pardon Eric Riddick,” Oh spokesman Matthew Pershe said.
Filing a petition is necessary in this case because under Pennsylvania’s Post–Conviction Relief Act (PPCRA), evidence that Oh contends proves Riddick’s innocence is prevented from being considered by a judge on appeal.
Oh became interested in Riddick’s case after a spring meeting with Riddick’s mother. He saw new evidence — the lone witness recanting his story three times, alibi witnesses not being permitted to testify at the first trial — that could have changed the verdict had the PPCRA not prevented new evidence from being introduced on appeal.
“There is clearly evidence that indicates this is an innocent man,” Oh said, “but it can’t be introduced in court on appeal. I’m certain the governor will recognize the evidence is exonerating.”