NEW YORK (CMC) – A jury has acquitted a Jamaican man who has been imprisoned in the United States for 24 years on a charge of murder.
The jury took only nine minutes to finally clear Derrick Deacon, 58, who was convicted in 1989 in the shooting death of Anthony Wynn during a robbery in a Flatbush, Brooklyn apartment complex.
Deacon, who had always denied the charge, was granted a new trial in 2012 after someone cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified a different man as the gunman.
Another witness also recanted her testimony.
“There was no case,” said the jury after reading the new verdict. “There was never a shred of evidence against Derrick Deacon. Why did they try him a second time if he’s been in jail for 24 years?”
Deacon, who had always insisted he was not near the scene of the crime, cried when the jury found him not guilty of the April 1989 slaying and robbery of Wynn.
Deacon was first convicted based on testimony from a single eyewitness who received US$1,000 from a Crime Stoppers hotline.
But in 2001, an FBI informant spilled on an unrelated Jamaican drug gang, the Patio Crew, and mentioned that someone named “Pablo” confessed to him minutes after Wynn was shot dead, saying he killed the potential cocaine buyer in a botched robbery, according to the New York Daily News.
It took years until that information was sent to Deacon, the paper said.
In 2009, a judge heard from the drug dealer and from a defence witness who said that she saw someone other than Deacon fleeing the scene but had given a vague testimony in the first trial after getting threatened by law enforcement.
The Daily News reported that investigators confirmed her account in a lie detector test but told her to hedge on the stand or her children would be taken away.
Justice Albert Tomei still denied a request to set the verdict aside, but an Appeals Court panel reversed that decision in June 2012 and jurors heard from all three witnesses during the retrial.
“I think they firmly believed in our client’s innocence,” said Glenn Garber, director of the Exoneration Initiative, a legal team that had taken up Deacon’s case.
“For 25 years, this man has suffered under a cloud of lies,” he told jurors in closing arguments,adding ”finally, please, set the record straight”.
Deacon is being held by immigration authorities, but his lawyer said he expected him to be released on bail within a week.
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Jury-acquits-Jamaican-man-of-murder-24-years-after-imprisonment#ixzz2l86dJsso