Three Baltimore men have been set free after 36 years in prison for a crime that they did not commit.
The men, Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart, were arrested in 1983 and sentenced to life in prison.
They were charged with the murder of one 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett shot in the neck on his way to school.
It was later revealed that the men were innocent.
Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby said after the men were released, “These three men were convicted, as children, because of police and prosecutorial misconduct,”
A statement from her office added: “detectives targeted the three men, all 16-year-old black boys, using coaching and coercion of other teenage witnesses to make their case”.
At a press conference, the men were give a chance to talk, with Watkins saying, “This should have never happened. Somebody’s got to pay for this,” he said. “You can’t just leave this like this. This fight is not over.”
Stewart on the other hand said “When I got the information, I cried, and I didn’t know how to stop crying until a friend of mine came to me and hugged me and said, ‘Man your journey is coming to an end,’ but it is not, my journey is just beginning, because I got to learn how to live right now.”
The case came to the forefront after Chestnut sent a letter to the Conviction Integrity Unit which then led to the office of the Baltimore Attorney general reopening the case.
Errors were found in the initial investigation which led to greater conviction that the men were innocent.
Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project also berated the people who rushed to judgment without reviewing the evidence, “Everyone involved in this case – school officials, police, prosecutors, jurors, the media, and the community – rushed to judgment and allowed their tunnel vision to obscure obvious problems with the evidence,”
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