A New York City man who spent the last 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, walked out of a Brooklyn courtroom on April 8 a free man after new evidence was unveiled providing the judge the opportunity to dismiss the man’s murder conviction.
USA Today reported that Jonathan Fleming always maintained his innocence in the 1989 shooting death that occurred in New York City while Fleming was 1,100 miles away at Disney World.
In August, 1989, a friend of Fleming’s, Darryl "Black" Rush, was shot to death in Brooklyn. Authorities claimed that Fleming killed his friend over a possible money dispute.
Fleming had plane tickets, videos and postcards from his trip, his lawyers said, but authorities suggested he could have been in New York at the actual time of the shooting, and a woman testified that she had seen him shoot Rush.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys asked the Brooklyn judge to dismiss Fleming’s murder conviction after new evidence came to light recently, including the recanted testimony of the one eyewitness, new eyewitnesses not originally interviewed that fingered someone else as being responsible for the murder, and “a hotel receipt putting Fleming in Florida hours before the killing.”
Tears filled Fleming’s eyes today as he hugged family members and his lawyer following the judge’s pronouncement.
Fleming’s mom was front and center in the courtroom.
"After 25 years, come hug your mother," she said, and he did.
Getting back to that hotel receipt prosecutors produced putting Fleming in Florida during the shooting, turns out, Fleming had that receipt on him when he was arrested 25 years ago.
The receipt turned up during a recent prosecutor’s review of the case.
That crucial piece of evidence proved to be “a document that police had evidently had since they found in Fleming's pocket on arresting him,” according to Fleming’s defense attorneys.
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