Brooklyn, NY Black Man Released From 18-Year Prison Bid After Wrongful Conviction
The conviction of a 35-year-old Black man was vacated after a deceptive photo lineup marked him as the assailant of a fatal 2004 shooting.
According to ABC News, Sheldon Thomas, 35, was convicted of the murder of a 14-year-old boy in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood. According to prosecutors, a witness identified Thomas based on police officers displaying six suspects.
The case is from a 2004 Christmas Eve shooting where people in a car shot at six others on the corner of East 52nd Street and Snyder Avenue in Brooklyn, resulting in the death of Anderson Bercy, 14 and leaving another man wounded.
District attorney’s office said on Thursday (March 9) that the original judge, prosecutors and detectives of the trial knew from the beginning that the photo from the lineup wasn’t the Sheldon Thomas they wanted for the murder, rather a man who shared the same name and address in the same precinct,The New York Times reports.
Despite such findings, the proceedings continued and led to Thomas’ 25-years-to-life sentencing.
Appearing before Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Matthew J. D'Emic, in a black suit, listened as the D’Emic told him his fate. Thomas said the years spent in prison led him to forgive the prosecutors and judge whose decision led to his sentencing.
“God will judge them,” he said, “just as he has judged me right now.”
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told reporters outside the courtroom on March 9 that there were no winners and “there’s still a 14-year-old boy who lost his life.”