A Baltimore man was released from prison Thursday after spending nearly 17 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, NBC News reports.
The Baltimore Sun reports David Morris was convicted of felony murder in 2005, based entirely on the testimony of a witness who saw him a few blocks away from where Mustafa Carter was robbed and killed. Morris was sentenced to 50 years in prison, even though he was adamant that they got the wrong guy.
The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project believed Morris was wrongfully accused and pushed for his case to be revisited. Their request was granted by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) in 2018, which revealed that someone other than Morris was identified and investigated prior to his case, but this information wasn’t disclosed to defense attorneys.
The CIU found out the officer who made the arrest had previously been convicted of misconduct. “That police officer was much later convicted of various crimes relating to fraud and placed on our ‘Do Not Call’ list, a list that we published last week, where we believe the officer is no longer credible to call as a witness in any case,” State’s Attorney for Baltimore City director of communications Zy Richardson said, per CNN.
The CIU discovered the DNA on Carter’s pants didn’t match with Morris, and the witness who identified Morris as the suspect had delivered contradictory statements. Baltimore Circuit Judge Charles Peters granted a request from prosecutors to throw out his prior conviction, with the charges getting dropped altogether.
“This case exemplifies the deeply damaging nature of the historical failures of the criminal justice system and our duty as prosecutors to address the wrongs of the past,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said. “On behalf of the state, let me extend my sincerest apologies to Mr. Morris and his family for the unspeakable trauma inflicted upon him as a result of this wrongful conviction.”
Morris became the 11th person to be exonerated by the CIU after serving time for a crime they were wrongfully charged for.