On Thursday, a Brooklyn judge reversed the murder conviction of Sundhe Moses. The 41-year-old spent 18 years in prison for murder, but the legitimacy of his conviction is now under scrutiny based on evidence that the confession that contributed to his being found guilty was in fact coerced by former detective Louis Scarcella.
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” said Moses on Thursday, according to the New York Times. “The battle has been won. The war hasn’t, but the battle has been won.”
In 1995, a 4-year-old girl was killed when she got caught in the crossfire of bullets from a local gang war. Moses was found guilty of the murder in 1997 after he allegedly confessed his involvement to Scarcella, and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. But in 2013, Moses was released on parole when a prior witness recanted his testimony.
According to the New York Times, Moses has long said that his conviction is illegitimate and that he falsely confessed to the murder only after Scarcella “choked and hit him.” Moses’ case is one of at least a dozen others in which the court has found that Scarcella used extremely questionable conduct to solicit a confession and secure a guilty verdict.
While Moses’ conviction has been overturned, he has not yet been exonerated. The Brooklyn district attorney’s office said that it will decide within a month whether it will retry Moses.