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11 Investigates: Man who implicated 2 in teen's 1998 murder says he lied in his confession, with police help

Travis Slaughter got a deal in exchange for his 2000 testimony, which sent Karl Willis and Wayne Braddy to prison for decades. He's out. They remain behind bars.

Brian Dugger

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“I could no longer live with the guilt, burden, shame of two innocent men doing 23 years to life because of my false testimony. It’s like I killed two men, and they are haunting me.” - Travis Slaughter

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It is actually shocking to see Travis Slaughter walk into an Akron-area library.

The Travis Slaughter from the late-1990s headlines was a monster. His mug shot was of a glassy-eyed youth with unkempt hair shooting off in several directions. He was a rapist, a drug dealer, a mastermind of one of the most brutal killings in recent Toledo history. In the early morning hours of June 15, 1998, 13-year-old Maurice Purifie was beaten and shot five times in the middle of a central Toledo street. In court, Slaughter said he was responsible for that death.

But it is hard to square those images with the smiling man who briskly walks into the Portage Lakes library after 10 hours of work on a Tuesday night.

“I brought my own snacks,” Slaughter says, chuckling and extending a hand for a warm handshake.

11 Investigates has chased this “monster” for more than four months, starting with an appearance at his former Akron home. A personal letter was left with his roommate. Text messages were sent through friends. Over the following months, phone calls and texts were made.

Slaughter reached a deal with prosecutors in 1999 to implicate Wayne Braddy and Karl Willis in the killing. On the stand in January 2000, Slaughter said that he offered to pay Braddy and Willis $200 apiece to get money from Purifie, who Slaughter said was selling drugs for him. When the teen mouthed off, the three men killed him, though Slaughter said he never paid the men.

In exchange for that testimony, Slaughter got a plea deal that included him admitting guilt to an unrelated rape of a 12-year-old girl. His aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges were reduced to involuntary manslaughter. He was released from prison about three years ago. Willis and Braddy have consistently maintained they are innocent, but they could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Slaughter reached out to 11 Investigates in September, saying that its investigative report in August “rattled his cage.” He now wanted to tell “the true, unbelievable story” that he has run from for more than 20 years.

On Tuesday night, Slaughter came to the library to tell his story, a story that his probation officer and attorney begged him not to tell.

Shortly after he sat in front of the camera, the words began pouring out of the man who sent his two friends to prison for life. Lies, he said. They were all lies.