Richard Rosario, a man who spent 20 years in prison for a New York City murder that he didn’t commit, will tell his story on Dateline NBC tonight. In the episode titled, “Conviction,” Dateline will continue their digital series based on Richard Rosario, who was sentenced for the 1996 murder of George Collazo.
Locked Away But Now Free
After fighting his conviction for many years, Richard Rosario was finally awarded his freedom. Dateline NBC correspondents began telling Richard Rosario’s story in the new digital series Conviction, which first aired in March. Tonight’s story will be a one-on-one interview with Richard Rosario, which will include special footage, according to Broadway World. Rosario will also detail how life has been for him since his release. The former wrongfully convicted inmate believes that if the district attorney had done his job two decades ago, he could have been easily cleared, since he had a rock solid alibi and 13 different witnesses supported his claim. Instead, the prosecutors sank their teeth into Richard Rosario and wouldn’t let go.
Dateline NBC is known for bringing viewers the most compelling pieces, exposing wrongful convictions of the innocent. Each time they tell a new story, their email boxes are literally filled with individual pleas to help get their own stories out, and some of Dateline’s coverage has helped some inmates regain their freedom.
The point that Richard Rosario is making is that it shouldn’t take Dateline having to expose these cases. Unfortunately, there are many inmates who dishonestly profess their innocence. Yet, there are genuine cases of police mishandling, police misconduct, and faulty eyewitness testimonies that all lead to the imprisonment of a person who didn’t do it.
Location: Turnbull Avenue In Bronx County, New York; The Murder Of Jorge ‘George’ Collazo, According To Justice Denied.
“On the morning of June 19, 1996, Collazo and his friend Michael Sanchez were walking in the Bronx from Collazo’s school to Sanchez’s home when they encountered two young men, an African-American and a Hispanic. Collazo and the Hispanic got into an argument that lasted about one minute. Collazo and Sanchez then resumed walking. The Hispanic approached them from behind. He hollered something like, “So, what’s up now?”, and then fatally shot Collazo in the head.”
Eyewitnesses say they saw the man who committed the crime. The person they identified was Richard Rosario, whom they picked out of a group of mugshots.
Richard denied killing George Collazo and even provided the police with 13 alibi witnesses who could prove that he was with them in Florida at the time of the murder. But, according to Dateline NBC’s research, it appears that neither the police, Rosario’s attorney, nor the district attorney, followed up on the witness leads that could have cleared him. They only took the word of the two eyewitnesses, and a conviction was obtained based on that.
Now that the conviction against Richard Rosario has been vacated, there are some real questions in the case. Who actually killed Jorge Collazo (George Collazo)? If you’ve watched Dateline’s digital Series, Conviction, then you already know that Collazo slapped his friend’s girlfriend in the face 2 weeks before the murder. The young lady was the girlfriend of Michael Sanchez, the eyewitness who was with George Collazo when he was shot.
When Dateline reached out to them, neither Michael Sanchez, nor his former girlfriend, were willing to talk about the case.
Richard Rosario is relieved to be back at home with his family, even though his children are now all grown up. He looks angry and resentful when you see him most of the time. But, shouldn’t he be? After all, he had his freedom taken away from him in the blink of an eye. He says it’s good that the sentence was vacated. But, he wants a full exoneration, according to NBC.
Some Other Key Points To Remember, According To Dateline’s “Conviction”
- The murder of George Collazo did not appear to be a random shooting.
- Richard Rosario did not know George Collazo and had no connection to him.
- Michael Sanchez has never been implicated in the crime.
Watch Richard Rosario speak tonight on Dateline at 10/9 p.m. Central on NBC. Last week, Dateline took a look back at the Charles Manson case.
[Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP]