UNITED STATES NEWS

2 men exonerated for 1990s NYC murders after reinvestigations find unreliable witness testimony

Nov 27, 2023, 2:27 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Two men who served decades in prison for separate murders in New York City were exonerated on Monday after reinvestigations found that they had been convicted based on unreliable witness testimony.

Jabar Walker, 49, walked free after he was cleared of a 1995 double murder. He had been serving 25 years to life for the crime.

Wayne Gardine, also 49 and convicted of a 1994 murder, was exonerated after being paroled last year. But he has also been accused of entering the United States illegally as a teenager and is now in immigration detention facing possible deportation to his native Jamaica.

Both crimes took place eight blocks apart in Harlem, and both convictions were vacated after defense lawyers worked with the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s conviction review unit to clear the men’s names.

Walker, who was represented by the Innocence Project, was 20 years old when he was arrested for the shooting deaths of Ismael De La Cruz and William Santana Guzman.

The new investigation of Walker’s case found that police had pressured a witness to incriminate Walker by implying that they would charge him with the shootings if he did not cooperate. The witness later recanted his testimony.

Another witness who said she had seen the shootings had received monetary benefits from the district attorney’s office, which was not disclosed to Walker’s defense, according to the Innocence Project.

“Mr. Walker received a sentence that could have kept him in prison for his entire life,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “I am thrilled that he can now finally return home and thank the Innocence Project for its steadfast advocacy throughout this matter.”

Walker entered a Manhattan courtroom in handcuffs on Monday and left a free man. The New York Times reported that Walker silently mouthed, “I made it,” when Justice Miriam R. Best vacated his conviction.

Gardine was 20 when he was arrested for the fatal shooting of Robert Mickens, who was shot nearly a dozen times.

His conviction was vacated after the reinvestigation from the district attorney’s office and the Legal Aid Society found that the single eyewitness who testified at trial had pinned the killing on Gardine to please his own drug boss, who was friends with the victim.

“Unjust convictions are the height of injustice and while we can never completely undo the pain he has experienced, I hope this is the first step in allowing Mr. Gardine to rebuild his life and reunite with his loved ones,” Bragg said.

Gardine was paroled last year after a total of 29 years behind bars but is now in immigration detention in upstate New York and facing possible deportation.

Gardine’s attorney with the Legal Aid Society, Lou Fox, said Gardine denies entering the country illegally and should be released.

“We are elated that Mr. Gardine will finally have his name cleared of this conviction that has haunted him for nearly three decades, yet he is still not a free man and faces additional and unwarranted punishment if deported,” Fox said in a statement.

United States News

Associated Press

What to know about the latest court rulings, data and legislation on abortion in the US

A judge in Montana rejected abortion restrictions, the attorney general in Missouri is accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally transporting minors for abortions and new data shows how the way abortions they’re provided continues to shift in a nation where some states have bans and others are protecting access. More than a year and a half […]

4 minutes ago

Associated Press

With trash bins now required in NYC, only the rats are sorry to see the garbage piles go

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s tradition of piling garbage bags on the sidewalk for pickup is going the way of the dinosaur. As of Friday, all 200,000 businesses in the Big Apple are required to put out their bags of trash in garbage bins, as communities across the county and world have long […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search for father and 2 young children in New Hampshire after mother found dead

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — Authorities were searching Friday for a father and his two young children after the children’s mother was found dead in a New Hampshire apartment. Authorities issed an Amber Alert just after 4 a.m. for the abduction of 4-year-old Elowyn Duren and 1-year-old Vaelyn Duren from the city of Berlin. Authorities said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Gaza doctor says gunfire accounted for 80% of the wounds at his hospital from aid convoy bloodshed

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The head of a Gaza City hospital that treated some of those wounded in the bloodshed surrounding an aid convoy said Friday that more than 80% had been struck by gunfire, suggesting there had been heavy shooting by Israeli troops. At least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 […]

2 hours ago

A "vote here" sign sits outside a Phoenix polling place in 2022....

Associated Press

Judge rules Arizona’s new voting laws requiring proof of citizenship aren’t discriminatory

An Arizona district judge has ruled state legislators didn't discriminate when passing new voting laws that require proof of citizenship.

4 hours ago

FILE - Phill Cady holds a sign during a "Take Our Border Back" rally on Feb. 3, 2024, in Quemado, T...

Associated Press

Russian disinformation is about immigration. The real aim is to undercut Ukraine aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Vladimir Putin, victory in Ukraine may run through Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. In recent weeks, Russian state media and online accounts tied to the Kremlin have spread and amplified misleading and incendiary content about U.S. immigration and border security. The campaign seems crafted to stoke outrage and polarization before the 2024 […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

2 men exonerated for 1990s NYC murders after reinvestigations find unreliable witness testimony