Three men released after being wrongfully imprisoned for 28 years
Three men wrongfully imprisoned for 28 years for a New Orleans murder have been freed after prosecutors agreed with defense attorneys that their conviction was based on shoddy evidence and the involvement of two corrupt police officers.
Kunta Gable, Leroy Nelson and Bernell Juluke were released from prison on Wednesday night after a New Orleans judge threw out their convictions in a fatal 1994 drive-by shooting.
“Mr. Juluke maintained his innocence from the moment of his wrongful arrest. I am relieved that he has finally been vindicated, if dismayed that it took so long,” said Juluke’s attorney, Mike Admirand of the Southern Center for Human Rights.
“Nothing can make up for the three decades Mr. Juluke and his family lost because of his wrongful conviction, but thanks to the Court’s action yesterday, at least they will have their future together,” Admirand said.
Reuters could not reach the office of New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams for comment on Thursday.
Prosecutors and attorneys for the three men filed an agreement with the court stating that they had been found guilty in March 1996, based on the testimony of a single witness who got the color of the car involved wrong.
That agreement also cites the presence at the crime scene of two New Orleans police officers who were later found to have helped cover up murders for drug dealers and to have manipulated evidence in the case.
One of those officers, Len Davis, was later convicted and sentenced to death for a separate murder.
“These convictions were obtained in violation of the Constitution and may well have resulted in the conviction of three innocent teenagers. The convictions should have long ago been vacated,” the two sides said in court documents.
Gable and Nelson were 17 at the time of their 1994 arrest and Juluke was 18.