News 05.03.07

Real perpetrators sentenced in two New York wrongful convictions

A New York inmate serving time for killing his landlady was sentenced to an additional 15 years to life today for a 1996 murder that sent an innocent man to prison.

Douglas Warney

, 45, was convicted of the murder in Rochester, New York, after he falsely confessed. When DNA testing obtained by Warney’s Innocence Project attorneys exonerated him of the crime in 2006, it also implicated the actual killer – a man named Eldred Johnson, Jr., who was serving time in prison for killing his landlady in 1998. Johnson has pled guilty to the murder and was sentenced this morning.

“I’m aware that I will spend the rest of my life in prison,” Eldred Johnson Jr. said. “Before I go, I just want to apologize. … Because of my action, I put this court in a position to create an injustice.”


Read the full story here

. (Associated Press, 5/3/07)

In another false confession case, the actual perpetrator in the crime for which

Jeffrey Deskovic

was wrongfully convicted in Westchester County, New York, was sentenced yesterday to 20 years. Steven Cunningham was linked to the 1989 murder by the DNA tests that exonerated Deskovic in 2006. Cunningham was also already serving time for another murder.

In the corridor afterward, Deskovic and Vasquez shared a tearful reunion, the first time they had spoken since the days after the killing. Outside the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, Deskovic said he was thankful for the empathy she showed him.

"She told me she felt very badly for me. She remarked that I was very strong," Deskovic said. "It was a very emotional moment for both of us. (It was) just like I was a son to her."


Read the full story here

. (White Plains Journal-News, 5/3/07)

Deskovic published a column today in the Journal-News calling for statewide criminal justice reforms.

Read it here

.


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