Sheldon Thomas, a Brooklyn resident of African American descent, has spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Earlier this week, the District Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York, pronounced him a free man and acquitted him of the charges against him. Although Sheldon Thomas is already serving time for murder, he did not commit the offense, which is good news.
According to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, a thorough investigation revealed the conviction was “fundamentally unfair.” He also added that the court must make efforts to guarantee fairness and integrity in every case. Gonzalez urged the justice system to have the courage to correct the mistakes of the past.
The District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit revealed that the police didn’t handle the case properly. It had many errors and lacked probable cause to arrest Mr. Thomas. Furthermore, the court denied Sheldon Thomas his due process rights when the prosecution proceeded with the case after making the wrongful identification. In his closing remarks, D.A. Eric Gonzalez pledged to continue resolving any questionable conviction found in Brooklyn.
The now exonerated Sheldon Thomas in the courtroom told the judge he forgives those who put him in jail. He stated that he would show mercy just like other people have shown him. In the original case, the District Attorney brought a charge against three alleged gang members, including Thomas, for killing 14-year-old Anderson Bercy and wounding someone else on December 24, 2004. A witness positively identified the other two in a white car but did not identify Thomas.
Although Detective Robert Reedy confessed to falsely testifying that Thomas’ actual picture was in the photo array, the police still arrested Thomas. At the trial, he was a co-defendant of another party who threatened the victims two days before the crime happened. While the other accused party was acquitted, Thomas was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder, and related counts. This earned him a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
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