A 23-year-long nightmare for a wrongly convicted New York man is over. With no DNA evidence, video footage, confession, phone records or fingerprints, the man was charged with murder on the basis of eyewitness testimony. For more than two decades, he sat in a prison cell for a crime he did not commit. He maintained his innocence through all those years, and after a thorough re-investigation, the Richmond County District Attorney’s office agreed.
On April 5, 1996, a young man was gunned down at the Stapleton N.Y.C.H.A Housing Complex in Staten Island where he lived. While nearby police officers heard the shots and gave chase to the suspect, he managed to get away. However, the police confiscated a WuTang baseball cap that fell from the suspect’s head during the escape. They also heard eyewitness testimony from a 17-year-old who believed the shooting emanated from a past grievance between the victim and “BooBoo.”
Despite having a substantiated alibi from a friend who was with him, the man known as “BooBoo” would eventually be charged with murder. Although the details of the 17-year-old’s testimony changed, it remained a primary factor in the man’s arrest.
Later, the man’s attorney successfully obtained a review of his client’s conviction based on new evidence he uncovered. That evidence included more witnesses who could corroborate his client’s claim of innocence. After being presented with new evidence, the RCDA conducted a thorough investigation and discovered that the lack of solid evidence failed to meet a legal standard to convict the man. The exculpatory evidence outweighed the allegations against him.
After the conclusion of the RCDA Conviction Integrity Review Unit’s investigation, District Attorney Michael McMahon vacated the man’s wrongful conviction. Prior to this, he had been paroled in 2019, but the conviction remained.
Today, the man is still putting his life back together surrounded by family and friends. Things may never be the same, but his name was cleared after 23 years.
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