Tuesday a New York judge vacated the conviction of Jonathan Fleming, a Brooklyn man, who was indicted twenty-five years ago for the 1989 murder of Darryl Rush that occurred while Mr. Fleming was vacationing with his family in Florida.
According to the Kings County district attorney’s office, Jonathan Fleming, 51, was found guilty in 1989 for the death of Darryl Rush in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and served the next 24 years and 8 months in prison, reported CNN.
Early Tuesday defense attorneys and prosecutors asked a Brooklyn judge to dismiss Fleming’s conviction in the 1989 shooting after a key eyewitness recanted, new witnesses implicating someone else surfaced, and a review by prosecutors turned up a hotel receipt putting Fleming in Florida hours before the killing, defense lawyers Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss said to CBS News.
“I feel wonderful,” Fleming said outside court. “I’ve always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday.”
When asked by reporters at the NY Times about his plans for his future, an eager Fleming said, “I’m going to go eat dinner with my mother and my family, and I’m going to live the rest of my life.”
Fleming has always maintained his innocence regarding the 1989 murder and said that he was on a family trip to Disney World in Florida when Rush was shot to death early on the morning of August 15, 1989, in a dispute over stolen money.
As part of a joint investigation between Fleming’s attorney’s and the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, investigators were able to reinvestigate old witnesses, turn over new leads, and find that the only piece of evidence tying him to the crime was an alleged witness who later recanted her statement.
During the time of his arrest, Fleming told prosecutors that he had a solid alibi which was backed up with key pieces of evidence such as plane tickets, videos and postcards from his trip, but then-authorities suggested he could have been in New York at the actual time of the shooting, especially after a woman testified that she had seen him shoot Rush.
The eyewitness who said she saw Fleming kill Darryl Rush recanted her testimony soon after Fleming’s 1990 conviction, saying that she was persuaded by police to lie in hopes of escaping jail time for a recent grand larceny arrest. Even with this new evidence, Fleming lost his appeals, and the judge threw out her story because he said she did not have enough facts to back up her story.
After a through investigation of the case, Judge Matthew D’Emic overturned Flemings’s 1989 murder conviction Tuesday. Both attorneys’ for Fleming are hopeful that the next steps in his legal battle will provide a way for him to support himself.
“He has no job, no career, no prospects,” Koss told CNN.
“We’re suing everybody, let’s be honest,” Koss added, saying Fleming’s legal team intends to bring a civil rights lawsuit against the city and seek reparations from the state under a provision set up to redress wrongful convictions.
Investigators are pursuing new leads surrounding the actual killer of the 1989 murder.
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