A 1989 NYC murder conviction against a 51-year-old man is set to be overturned this week, after the accused and innocent man spent a quarter of a century behind prison bars for a heinous crime he didn’t commit. Not only was Jonathan Fleming innocent of the murder, he was over 1,000 miles away the day it happened, yet he was still found guilty in a 1990 trial.
Reports The Associated Press on Tuesday, Fleming “spent almost a quarter-century behind bars for murder was freed Tuesday and cleared of a killing that happened when he was 1,100 miles away on a Disney World vacation.”
On August 15, 1989, as Fleming was vacationing in Orlando, Florida, his friend Darryl Rush was shot and killed in a dispute that allegedly had to do with money. A witness for the prosecutor, a female, placed Fleming at the scene and even said she had witnessed the murder. She later recanted her story, telling investigators it was a complete fabrication.
Even though she withdrew her testimony in 1990, and even though defense attorneys placed postcards, videos and plane tickets into evidence to show Fleming was nowhere near the crime, he was found guilty and sentenced to prison.
His family members called it a complete "travesty of justice," and have been fighting the conviction for decades now.
Reports the Inquisitr as to what finally caused Fleming’s appeal to be won:
A key eyewitness withdrew testimony, new eyewitnesses implicated a different suspect, and more importantly, a hotel receipt admitted into evidence places Fleming at a Florida hotel at the time of the NYC murder in 1989, according to defense attorneys Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss.
“He is elated and stunned, while tempered by the fact that he realizes that this is just the first step in getting his life back,” Koss commented.
Says the AP report:
The exoneration... comes amid scrutiny of Brooklyn prosecutors' process for reviewing questionable convictions — scrutiny that comes partly from the new DA Kenneth Thompson himself. He unseated longtime DA Charles "Joe" Hynes last year after a campaign that focused partly on wrongful convictions on Hynes' watch. Hynes had created a special conviction integrity unit to review false-conviction claims, but some saw the effort as slow-moving and defensive.