News 02.24.14

Maryland Man Cleared of Murder

A Maryland Man was released from a Baltimore prison Friday after spending nearly two decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit. Sabein Burgess was convicted of the 1994 murder of his then girlfriend, Michelle Dyson, based largely on gunshot residue testimony that would not be permitted as evidence by today’s standards. The

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

, which represented Burgess, uncovered evidence of his innocence, including a confession by one of the two real perpetrators and police notes indicating that detectives were investigating an alternative suspect after Burgess was convicted.  Additionally, Dyson’s then six-year-old son, who was believed to be asleep at the time of the murder, came forward to say that he saw the perpetrators and that Burgess was not one of them.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Burgess spent an extra week in jail as a result of a recent snowstorm that shut down the Baltimore City Circuit Court, but was finally able to sign papers outlining his release on Friday after a new trial was ordered. The assistant state’s attorney dropped the charges without conceding innocence and agreed his office would not prosecute Burgess a second time.
Burges said to the Baltimore Sun, “There were a lot of times I didn’t think I was going to get out.”  He was on probation for other crimes at the time that he became a suspect in Dyson’s murder. According to the paper, “Burgess said police believed he fit the bill of a murderer — young, black and involved in drugs.”
“I was the easiest way to close the case,” Burgess said.
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