News 01.17.08

New York man continues his fight for exoneration after two decades

Lebrew Jones has been in New York state prison for two decades for a murder he has always maintained he didn’t commit. His story – a winding road through the criminal justice system – bears many of the hallmarks of a wrongful conviction. Jones became a suspect in a New York City murder because he worked near the crime scene. He says he made a false admission of guilt after police interrogated him for eight hours, and a new multimedia report in the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record details the evidence pointing to Jones’ innocence in the case.

Lebrew's videotaped statement, while farfetched, included details that only police and the killer should have known.

A clue as to how Lebrew might have learned those details emerged during the suppression hearing.

"Did you tell (Lebrew) why his stories didn't fit what you knew?" (Detective) O'Donoghue asked Lockhart.

"Yes, sir," replied Lockhart.

"Did you tell him what actually had taken place, or what you had observed inside?" asked O'Donoghue.

"Yes, sir," Lockhart responded, adding that Clermont was present at the time.

Nevertheless, Judge Richard Andrias, who declined comment for this story, admitted Lebrew's statements into evidence.

During the jury trial a month later, both detectives would deny giving Lebrew any details of the crime.

The investigative report quotes Innocence Project Policy Analyst Rebecca Brown on evidence preservation issues, and Steven Drizin, director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, on false confessions issues.

The Manhattan District Attorney has reopened Jones’ case for investigation.


Read the full story, and view the interactive multimedia features, here

. (Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record, 1/13/08)

A New York Times editorial on Saturday called for recording of interrogations nationwide to help law enforcement officers and prevent false confessions.

Read the full editorial here

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