A man who spent 40 years in prison for a murder he maintains he did not commit met last week with the prosecutor who helped put him away, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Kevin Brinkley was only 15 years old in 1977 when he was charged with the murder of an egg delivery man. He was convicted based on unreliable eyewitness identification and sentenced to life in prison. For the past 40 years, the Brinkley family has insisted that Kevin is innocent and that the crime was committed by Kevin’s younger brother Ronald.
Ronald testified in court in 1994 that he committed the crime, but a judge ruled that his testimony lacked credibility. He also signed a written confession back in 1977, but he declined to testify at trial at the advice of his attorney, according to the Inquirer.
Kevin was released on parole on October 19 when the Supreme Court ruled automatic life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional.
Former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Gerald Dugan, who prosecuted Kevin’s case in 1977, told the Inquirer he has had lingering regrets about the way he handled the case. Last week, he invited Kevin and his family to his law office in Philadelphia, to ask in person for his forgiveness.
“You never saw a sunrise; you never saw a sunset,” Dugan told Kevin, according to the Inquirer. “You never drove a car. You never fell in love with somebody. You never had any of the things that all of us take for granted. And I want you to know I am responsible for that — because I told the jury what they should do, and they did it.”
Kevin’s uncle Greg Brinkley said he and his family will continue to fight for Kevin’s exoneration.
“We’ve got to rectify this injustice,” Kevin’s uncle Greg told the Inquirer. “We’re glad he’s on parole, but that’s not enough. … We’re never going to stop fighting for his innocence.”
Read the Philadelphia Inquirer coverage here.