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Men say they lied on stand because of prosecutor’s threats

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Two men who testified against a man eventually convicted of murder say they lied on the stand because a prosecutor threatened them, an allegation that the former assistant district attorney denies.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports 33-year-old Floyd Calvin Cody of High Point is seeking to have his murder conviction overturned based on the recantations. Cody was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the 2007 shooting death of Jermaine Collins.

Reco Baskins and his half-brother, Christopher Little, signed affidavits about why they lied to the court. Baskins says a prosecutor threatened him with the death penalty or life in prison.

Cody was convicted in 2009 when Baskins and Little said he was one of four men who went to Collins’ house to kill him.

Baskins, who admitted to shooting Collins in the back of the head, accepted a plea deal for a reduced sentence after testifying against Cody.

“I only agreed to testify against Mr. Cody because the assistant district attorney said he was going to make sure I got the death penalty or a life sentence and tried to make me agree that I deliberately intended to kill Jermaine Collins with malice,” Baskins said in his affidavit.

In his testimony before Superior Court Judge John O. Craig, Little supported that statement.

“The implication of Mr. Floyd Cody in these crimes were not of my own free will,” Little wrote, “but were the product of solicitation and threats and intimidation committed against me by the Guilford County prosecutor Mr. Don Carter, who offered me a plea deal in exchange for my cooperation.”

Carter, who went into private practice in 2010, said the claims by Baskins and Little are untrue. “Any interpretation of a threat made would be that they were given the opportunity to accept the plea deal or be tried for first-degree murder,” Carter said.

Cody was the only defendant not to accept the deal. He maintains his innocence. His attorneys said in court documents that no physical evidence, including DNA, tied him to the crime and no other witnesses said he was at the scene other than Baskins and Little.

In his affidavit, Little wrote that another man, Shon McClain, accompanied Baskins and him when Collins was killed. A Wake County Detention Center worker was convicted of grabbing McClain and throwing him twice to the ground and killing him in 2013.

But in court documents he had written that he had been hired to kill Collins for $10,000 as revenge for a drug theft. He said he took three men with him, telling the men they were only going to rob Collins.

According to McClain’s affidavit, he, Little and Baskins went to Collins’ house, planning to find his stash of money and drugs. McClain provided the men with guns.

Baskins said he shot Collins when McClain told him to do so.

Prosecutor Walt Jones said the affidavit surfaced after McClain’s death and that the handwriting doesn’t match that of previous letters written by McClain.

McClain also wrote to George Victor Stokes, the man who he said had ordered Collins’ death, urging him turn himself in. Stokes also was incarcerated when he received the letter from McClain in 2012.

An affidavit from Stokes states that he approached Cody in prison after receiving McClain’s letter. “I told him that the crime and the fact that someone who had nothing to do with it had been convicted was weighing on my conscience,” Stokes wrote.

Another man, Emmanuel Sellers, was charged with driving them to the scene. He pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon. That was combined with a second-degree murder charge, and he was released from jail in October.

Cody’s attorney, Mark Kleinschmidt, argued in court on April 25th that Cody’s conviction should be overturned. Craig won’t rule until after transcripts of that hearing are prepared.

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