Man faces third trial for 1981 North Philly murder

The intersection of 24th Street and Allegheny Avenue where Jamie Lamb was killed in August 1981. Credit: Google Maps
The intersection of 24th Street and Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia where Jamie Lamb was killed in August 1981. Credit: Google Maps

Witnesses were asked to reach back to 1981 today for their memories of a North Philly shooting currently on trial in Commonwealth Court.

Edward Jackson, who was in Marty’s Sweet Joy Lounge at 24th Street and Allegheny Avenue chatting with a go-go dancer on Aug. 3, 1981 when Jamie Lamb was shot to death, testified in court Monday that defendant Zachary Wilson, 58, was the shooter.

“I saw his face and his gun,” silver-haired Jackson testified.

However, defense attorney Michael Wiseman also called former court psychologist Albert Levitt to the stand Monday, who interviewed Jackson in 1981 and found that “he liked to see himself as an aid to police.”

“He had a schizoid personality,” Levitt testified. “But my finding is he could probably ID accurately the victim, the shooter.”

Jackson said during his testimony that he had been arrested three times for impersonating an officer, and that he had suffered two skull fractures in the 1970s.

These issues were reportedly not disclosed at Wilson’s 1980s trial.

Originally convicted in 1988, Wilson was on death row for almost two decades for Lamb’s murder before the conviction was overturned in federal court.

Wilson had been sentenced to death because he was previously convicted of the 1984 murder of David Swift in Germantown.

But in 2005, Wilson’s conviction for the Swift murder was thrown out because an appeals court found African Americans were excluded from the jury in that trial.

Then, in 2010, his conviction for Lamb’s murder was thrown out because prosecutors did not disclose information that might have discredited key witnesses.

The district attorney’s office chose to retry Wilson for the Lamb murder.

A previous retrial in 2013 reportedly ended in a jury deadlock, with jurors voting nine to three for acquittal.

Lamb’s family has attended the trial.

His sister Toni said that Lamb’s death rocked the family, and that her mother died just three months later.

Lawyers are expected to make closing statements Tuesday morning.



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