A New York man who served 25 years in prison for his alleged involvement in a notorious 1990 subway killing cried tears of joy on Tuesday as he learned that his conviction was overturned by a state supreme court judge.
In 1990, Johnny Hincapie was one of the seven defendants convicted in the murder case of Brian Watkins, a 22-year-old from Utah who was visiting New York with his parents to attend the U.S. Open tennis tournament. While at a subway station, the family was robbed and violently attacked by a group of youth. Watkins was stabbed in the chest and died. While it was one of the other defendants who actually stabbed Watkins, law enforcement said that the entire group of youth was responsible for the murder.
During the investigation, Hincapie, now 43 years old, originally confessed to the attack but today claims that he was physically coerced into doing so by an investigator on the case. Hincapie says that he was actually in another part of the subway at the time of the attack. According to a story by the Associated Press (AP) and ABC News in New York, Hincapie tried to appeal his case in 2013, but was unsuccessful.
New evidence, including new testimony from two witnesses as well as a codefendant who says that Hincapie was not involved in the attack, would likely result in a favorable verdict for Hincapie, said New York State Supreme Court Eduardo Padro, according to the AP and ABC News in New York. This entitles Hincapie to a new trial, said the judge.
The judge granted Hincapie release on $1 bail while he awaits word from the district attorney on whether he will be retried. According to the
New York Times
, he posted bail and was reunited with his family.