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Man freed after 25 years for a murder he didn't commit

(Posted on 14/04/14)

New York man Jonathan Fleming freed after 25 years in prison for Brooklyn murder after review turns up new evidence. 

Rob Williams writes in The Independent on 10 April about the case of man cleared after spending 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

After a quarter of a century behind bars, Jonathan Fleming looked towards his mother as family members cried out 'thank you, God!' as he was freed. The moving moment came after Jonathan Fleming, who had served 24 years and 8 months of his prison sentence for the murder of Darryl "Black" Rush, was cleared of the killing. 

He had been convicted of the crime, which occurred in Brooklyn, despite being on holiday at Disney World in Florida, more than 1,100 miles away. A key eyewitness recanted, new witnesses have implicated someone else and a review by prosecutors turned up a hotel receipt putting Fleming in Florida hours before the killing, defence lawyers Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss said. Remarkably the receipt had been in police possession since Fleming's arrest.  

Fleming had maintained his innocence from the beginning, but authorities had refused to accept the explanation and had suggested the shooting was motivated by a dispute over money. An eyewitness woman had testified that she had seen him shoot Rush. 

She recanted her testimony soon after Fleming's 1990 conviction, saying she had lied so police would cut her loose for an unrelated arrest, but Fleming lost his appeals. The defence asked the DA's office to review the case last year. The review produced a hotel receipt paid in Florida about fiver hours before the shooting.