Cory Epps is not the killer -- so who is?

Man serving 25-to-life could be prime suspect

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - - Cory Epps is not the killer of Tamika Means.

But if Epps never pulled the trigger that early morning 20 years ago...who did?
   
Unlike in other wrongful conviction cases like the Bike Path Killer, authorities aren't yet naming their prime suspect in order to protect the person who came forward with the exculpatory evidence.

“The individual who came forward is scared, and I’m going to do everything I can to protect that individual,” District Attorney John J. Flynn said.

But news clippings from the day of Epps' sentencing two decades ago show defense attorney Andrew LoTempio was pointing at one man as the real killer.

That man is Russell Montgomery.

At the time, LoTempio claimed Montgomery's girlfriend drove the car involved in the murder. He also suspected Montgomery killed another man, Paul Pope, “because Pope was telling people Montgomery had ‘bragged’ last year about killing Ms. Means,” according to a June 10, 1998 article in The Buffalo News.

Flynn said the real killer -- who he refused to name -- bears a striking resemblance to Epps.

“The photograph of him and Cory Epps are eerily similar...like, twins similar,” he said.

He added, “The individual who we believe is responsible is in jail on another homicide for 25 to life.”

Montgomery fits is currently serving a 25-years-to-life prison sentence in an Albany state prison for another killing.

Flynn said he'll pursue the case right away but said time -- and the lack of a new eyewitness --  is his biggest enemy in convicting the real killer.

“I firmly believe it, but whether I can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt is a whole ‘nother story,” he said. 

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