Official Promo Poster for “Unseen Innocence.” (Courtesy photo)

“Unseen Innocence” is a documentary seeking to shed light on the tragic plight of Lionel “Ray Ray” Williams, a Black man who served time for the 1976 murder of actor Sal Mineo.

Williams says although he does have a criminal past, he is innocent of the crime, and he hopes the documentary will help to prove that.

Directed by filmmaker Letitia McIntosh, the documentary premieres Sunday, May 19, at the Cinemark Theater in Baldwin Hills.

The screening will be hosted by this writer, Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper contributing writer and host of the KBLA Talk 1580 entertainment radio talk show “Black in the Green Room.”

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An additional Southern California screening will be held Wednesday, May 22, at the Historic Fox Theater in Bakersfield, with the documentary’s narrator and host, actor Omar Gooding.

Mineo was born Salvatore Mineo Jr., and he was popularly known for the classic films “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Exodus,” and “Escape From the Planet of the Apes.”

In 1972, Mineo came out as bisexual.

Booking photograph of Lionel “Ray Ray” Williams. (Courtesy photo)

McIntosh says she was initially led to Williams’ story when she learned eyewitnesses of Mineo’s murder said they saw a white man with blonde hair blowing in the air as he was fleeing the scene.

“There’s no way this is right,” said McIntosh. “I researched it a little bit more, and I really dug deep, then started to find more and more.”

Finally, McIntosh says after discovering more revealing evidence, she invited Williams to Detroit to discuss telling his side of the story in film.

The pair both remember being introduced by phone through a mutual friend from Williams’ bike club the Sunset Riders.

“The conversation between us was real, educational – all the stuff she learned about the case I didn’t know,” said Williams. “We’re still learning stuff about this case.”

Williams says McIntosh revealed to him that there was a seventeen-year-old male witness who was never brought into court, and prosecutors were keeping the witness hidden until the case was concluded.

However, McIntosh says the witness did testify before the grand jury.

According to Williams based on new information presented to him by McIntosh, there was another key witness, a nine-year-old girl at the time, who says she saw a White man, 5’9” to 6’ with blonde hair kill Mineo.

Both McIntosh and Williams contend they unfortunately cannot locate her today.

“I’m hoping that when this [information] comes out, they’ll [legal officials] knock on the door and say, ‘Look, I have the other side of the story,”’ said Williams.

McIntosh says Williams had in his possession for 48 years the information he needed to be exonerated, such as the court documents which were included in his inmate records.

Williams says he never knew Mineo, and the only connection authorities could make between the two men was a yellow car.

A young Sal Mineo. (Courtesy photo)

“The chief of police, Peter J. Pitchess at that time put out a statement, and gave the whole case over the TV,” said Williams. “He gave every aspect – everything that he wasn’t supposed to say, he said it.”

He continued, “They made an announcement saying, ‘If anyone loaned anyone a small yellow car, please contact the Hollywood sheriff’s department.”’

Williams says he did borrow a yellow Dodge from O’Connor Lincoln, and the car was borrowed from the dealership while they were working on a vehicle, he purchased from them.

The dealership in return, Williams continues, then called the sheriff’s department notifying them that they had loaned Williams a car fitting that description.

“Six-months later, I was being extradited to Michigan on some check charges, forgeries,” said Williams. “They [the authorities] came and visited me [in] Michigan and asked me about the yellow car. I said the car was no good and I had it brought back to O’Connor Lincoln.”

He says the car was returned to the dealership by a Caucasian friend, however he does not believe that friend was the mysterious blonde suspect in question.

McIntosh concurs.

“They kept asking me if I had a white friend – their main thing was who did I loan that small yellow car to,” said Williams. “I told them if you check the records, you can tell that the car was returned back to the lot within a couple of hours.”

“One of the things that stood out about the car, and we can show it [from the court documents] is that the witness said the car was a Toyota, but [Williams] had rented a Dodge Colt,” interjected McIntosh.

She says when the rental agreement was presented in court, it said that the yellow car Williams rented was indeed a Dodge.

McIntosh believes, from her reading of the court documents, prosecutors were trying to convince the eyewitnesses the car was a Dodge instead of a Toyota.

She says one of the witnesses was sure it was a Toyota because his brother had a blue version of the automobile.

“And those are the words that are in the documentation that Lionel “Ray Ray” Williams has in his possession,” said McIntosh.

For ticket information to the premiere of the documentary “Unseen Innocence” on Sunday, May 19, at the Cinemark Theater in Baldwin Hills, please visit