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DNA evidence frees men after two decades in prison

DNA Evidence Frees Men After 2 Decades In Prison


By Megan McLeod
Newsy

After spending more than two decades behind bars for a triple murder, two men from New York are now free - and it's all thanks to new DNA evidence.

The two New York natives recalled the night of the 1992 murders to CNN. Antonio Yarbough, 18 at the time, and Sharrif Wilson, 15, went home after a night of partying. Yarbough found his mother, sister and family friend stabbed and strangled to death.

"Before you know it, I had this photograph shoved in my face, and I was being threatened and slapped around, and they wanted me to sign a false confession," Yarbough said. "And I wouldn't."

But Yarbough's friend Wilson signed a false confession after he says police coerced him into it. And that led to their men's eventual conviction and 21 years behind bars.


​But the New York Daily News reports new DNA evidence surfaced in September 2013. A specimen found on a murder victim in 1999, when both men were already behind bars, matched material found under Yarbough's mother's fingernails. The new evidence suggested his mother's killer is still out there.

Wilson and Yarbough's convictions were overturned and the two were released February 6th.

Upon being released, Wilson told reporters he's trying to decide between an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy. Yarbough, on the other hand, says he's just looking forward to living his life. As for who committed the murders in 1992 and 1999, police have not identified a suspect.

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rdclaw2000 February 09 2014 at 10:58 PM

I've always asked who's supposed to protect US against the sociopaths who run the legal system. They most likely know if you're guilty 9 out of 10 times, but would rather get the conviction and move on than admit they ruined a innocents life.
Who's going to protect us? These men will have to fight for monetary compensation as another group of Government paid sociopaths argues against it. Add that to the PTSD and ruined lives that money can never get back and the fact that the first sociopaths who convicted them likely led full lives on our dime walk free forever. Let's not forget they went into a world where they were most likely raped and brutalized and in return had to become hard core themselves to survive.
Who's going to protect us? Who's going to prove these sociopaths knew they were innocent. Any compensation should also come from the sociopaths who made them appear guilty in their game of stacking a house of cards.
Who's going to protect us?

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screamingsigns February 09 2014 at 1:55 PM

These kids were rail- roaded, as is typical in high profile cases where the mentality is: Well, we don't have any clue as to who really did it, so let's pin it on the handiest suspect(s). Even as they had an alibi and no real motive. BUT ONE CONFESSED! What did the pigs do to extract the confession of an innocent kid? Well, if you tell someone a story and beat it into their head with a phone book enough times, you could make the Pope confess that he himself crucified Christ! What this story doesn't talk about is how the scandalized justice system of NYC has had dozens of cases like this, where shoddy police work and District Attorneys only concerned with their conviction records, colluded to jail innocent people. Crooked cops who perjure themselves, prosecutors who tamper with witnesses, hide exculpatory evidence and whatever else they need to do to convict not the truly guilty, but whomever they can manufacture a case against. There are now over sixty exoneration cases that have recently flooded the Brooklyn DA’s Office following the March 2013 exoneration of David Ranta (A murder rap was pinned on him for stabbing a Rabbi). That non-DNA case resulted from a false confession. As a result, every case made by Detective Louis Scancarella has been cast in doubt. The cases of Wilson and Yarbough also involve false confessions extracted by beatings, and terrorizing young "suspects" (as well as DNA) but with different detectives, so these exonerations will lead to even more cases being questioned. As they should. The fact is that if a stranger murders someone, they are usually not caught. But if you live with someone who gets murdered, you had better be able to prove your innocence beyond all doubt, and beyond that you had better have a boat load of cash to pay a top defense attorney, because if you can't afford that, your public defender will talk you into taking a plea.
And speaking of lawyers. I'm noticing that in all of these exoneration cases, the original lawyers are never named in the reports, they are referred to in terms like the original defense team. Yarbough’s lawyer had never before tried a murder case. And, the assigned counsel administrator convinced her to stay on the matter despite the attorney expressing concerns about her lack of experience. How the hell is that possible? Worse yet, she never questioned, or presented he evidence that proved that her boy was innocent. The Judge should have questioned the lawyers qualifications. But the assistant DA on the case, now a New York judge (AGAIN NO NAMING THE GUILTY, PLEASE!), offered Wilson a deal: the DA’s office would agree to cut his sentence to nine-years-to-life if he would change his story and testify against Yarbough. Why should the DA, now Judge be named? Willson had already testified in open court. Therefore we have a NYC judge who is, no doubt, guilty of suborning perjury in 1992. And why? So he could add another WIN to his record, and Justice be damned!

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bill_jones86 February 09 2014 at 11:29 AM

i dont agree with a lot of the ways cops do things but the biggest enemy to society are these prosecutors. for the most part they are the ones that create these situations. they advise the cops what to do and say. this is how they keep their jobs and use cases like this to further their careers . even when proven wrong they still fight on and they are protected from punishment for their mistakes.

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vodoulegba February 09 2014 at 10:52 AM

This is sad, until the Blacks realized the need to wake up and to smell the percentage of lactose in the milk, they should try to patrol their communities in a positive way, to get rid of drugs and all of the bad, and evils rooted in their houses, communities etc...to try to gain trust, beautifying their blocks, keep jobs, create businesses, respect each one another, I am not demanding love for one another which is impossible but respect for now, because of the survival of one is important to the other, without him or her being conscious of such a (natural fact)

The Cities should train some Blacks in a positive way, to give them incentives to policing their own communities, to conduct weekly "citizenry, life and responsiblity classes" with the members of such commuties, helped to get rid of drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and to help create "family businesses", to get easy access to loans from the cities not banks...

I am not calling for Blacks to go get weapons of mass destruction to start a killing frenzy of COPS, that's utopia and sheer irresponsability where American societies and associations Architects are still in a coocoon of negative results, need to improve.

The Architects of this society know who they are, some are in Switzerland, Spain,Belgium, America, France & Germany, they are the ones who make the next 25 years decision for the Globe, usually dreadful and annihilating....
I am calling you, to find a better way to help the "Blacks" after all of these years of Slavery, their minds are still in your hands...Let these People go! if you can not help them....leave them alone!

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bdgrizcp February 09 2014 at 10:27 AM

This is getting to be the most salient argument against the death penalty. DNA evidence has cleared a lot of people. It is especially significant in crimes that occured in the 80's in major cities where the police were under extreme pressure to close cases and the crime rate was soaring. Young, uneducated arrestees (usually minority and poor) were pressured into confessions or simply railroaded into court cases where the outcome was never in doubt. What passed for legal representation became essentially a plea bargain. If at any point you confessed you were done. And you were always under the threat of greater punishment if you did not.

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imrustysmom February 09 2014 at 10:05 AM

I can never understand why people sign statements that they are guilty when they know they didn't do it.

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2 replies to imrustysmom's comment
bdgrizcp February 09 2014 at 10:21 AM

Carrot and stick. The cops take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a confession and a 'reduced' sentence. After the confession the DA reverts back to 25 to life. Besides, after what a police interogation does to the average person's head most of us would admit to having killed Jimmy Hoffa. Once a confession is in play it is very difficult to recant. Always the only words you need to say to the cops: 'I want a lawyer.' The best free advice you can get. Sure, it can lead to an arrest and detention but it stops the police in their tracks. Of course they usually come back with "well, if you want a lawyer we can't help you." Yeah...right. They are there to help.

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1 reply to bdgrizcp's comment
bill_jones86 February 09 2014 at 11:25 AM

the under 35 gen of cops today suck. you gave these bloggers the best advice "i want an atty" period. lot of innocents out there in jail because they were broken down and statements were taken out of context. prosecutors are more evil as this is how they keep their jobs with high profile cases. hope these 2 guys sue the hell out of everyone they can.

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mandingo3 February 09 2014 at 10:24 AM

imrusty,
It is because they are unsophisticated, can be easily deceived because of low intelligence unlike you and I.
The Cops are culpable for manipulating him into a false confession;it makes us all unsafe because the real perpetrator was still free committing more crimes while the cops patted themselves on the back and probably got promotions for solving a murder case fast.

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gpcarrera February 09 2014 at 10:00 AM

Every cop in NY refers to blacks as tyrones. If I wasnt married to a cop
that is now retired I would not have believed it.

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gpcarrera February 09 2014 at 9:56 AM

One thing I must say about the NYPD, after being married to a
retired officer that worked in the 60, the biggest ******** come
out of the NYPD not to mention asst DA's. They will do anything
for the collar.

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bryanmerrittper2 February 09 2014 at 9:53 AM

Good thing they didn't get the death penalty.

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medilinkbill February 09 2014 at 9:51 AM

there are twoo many men in jail that should not be there. they need to do a research on this problem . spending years in prison doesn't only cost the government millions of dollars but takes a life away from a poor individual . shame on the justice system !!

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