Men Exonerated After 22 Years in Prison Thanks to New Evidence

Men Exonerated After 22 Years in Prison Thanks to New EvidenceImage via CNN

Earlier this week, two Brooklyn men were freed from prison after serving nearly 22 years in jail for a crime they did not commit. 

In 1992, Antonio Yarbough and Shariff Wilson were convicted for murdering Yarbough's mother, 12-year-old sister and cousin. Yarbough was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison; Wilson nine years to life. Yarbough and Wilson were just 18 and 15-years-old at the time.

According to the New York Times, the convictions were overturned after 21 years and seven months when tests revealed that DNA found under Yarbough's mother's fingernails was linked to that found on another murder victim in 1999. By then, Yarbough and Wilson had already been incarcerated for several years. 

CNN reports that Wilson falsely confessed to the murders in 2005, implicating Yarbough in them as well. The obvious question is why? Detectives reportedly threatened and roughed Wilsonjust 15 at the time up until he cooperated after being promised a lesser sentence. 

"I was scared, afraid; I was lied to, manipulated into believing that I was going to go home, if I do tell...what they said happened," he told CNN. 

When Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson looked over the evidence, he determined the convictions most likely would not stand up in court again and agreed with the decision that Yarbough and Wilson should be freed.

On Thursday, Wilson and Yarbough saw each for the first time in decades, just before being granted their freedom. Wilson apologized to Yarbough, who said he couldn't fault him completeley for what happened. He understood the immense pressure the younger man was under almost 22 years ago because he experienced the same.

[via CNN and The New York Times

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