Brooklyn Convictions Overturned, Charges Dismissed
On Wednesday, a panel of New York state appeals court judges unanimously reversed the convictions and dismissed the indictments against Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Conner, two Brooklyn men who were found guilty of murder and kidnapping more than two decades ago.
The Innocence Project has been consulting on the case since2006, working with lawyers at Bedlock Levine & Hoffman who represented of Everton and lawyers at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP who represented Conner.
Post-conviction DNA testing revealed foreign hairs on the victim’s body that did not come from Wagstaffe or Conner. But as the
New York Times
reported, yesterday’s ruling was based primarily on the fact that prosecutors violated the defendant’s constitutional rights by burying documents that might have shown that detectives and the prime witness, Brunilda Capella, who has serious substance abuse problems, had lied.
“Given the lack of any other evidence tying the defendants to the crime, the credibility of Capella and the investigating detectives was of primary importance in this case, so that the burying of the subject documents by the prosecution” was significant, the court ruled, according to the
New York Times
Connor, now 46, served 15 years and works for a film production company while Wagstaffe, 45, remains in state prison where he has been in custody since his arrest in January 1992. He refused to be released on parole or probation if it meant he had to admit to guilt. They have maintained their innocence since the very beginning.
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