Man launched from jail after 23 years

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City man who served 23 years in jail for a homicide he didn’t commit was formally cleared of the fees Thursday.

Within the first profitable wrongful conviction case on Staten Island, a decide vacated the 1997 conviction of 50-year-old Grant Williams, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

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“I used to inform all people in jail I’m harmless,” Williams mentioned exterior the courthouse. “They are saying, ‘Oh Williams, all people says that.’ I mentioned, ‘I’m telling you the reality. In the future you’re gonna see me on the information they usually’re gonna say that I used to be harmless,’ and as we speak’s that day.”

Williams served greater than 20 years behind bars for the 1996 taking pictures demise of Shdell Lewis exterior the Stapleton NYCHA housing advanced. He’s been on parole since 2019.

On the time of the homicide, there was just one eyewitness who recognized Williams because the shooter. The officer who chased the gunman gave a bodily description that didn’t match Williams. The shooter left behind a Wu-Tang-Clan hat that was not DNA examined. No forensic proof or fingerprints tied Williams to the crime.

“I had blacked out with the decision. I couldn’t consider it,” mentioned Cynthia Franklin, Williams’ mother.

In 2017, the Staten Island District Legal professional’s Conviction Integrity Unit reinvestigated the case. They found new proof, interviewed new, credible witnesses who didn’t initially come ahead, and checked out Williams’ alibi.

Williams was working on the Wu-Tang Clan recording studio that day.

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“He left, part of me left…. So it was by no means actually the identical once more,” mentioned rapper “Ghostface Killah.”

Williams, a father of three, additionally missed out on treasured time along with his youngsters.

“I don’t by no means need no one to be in that state of affairs once more. So I’m gonna educate as a lot individuals as I might,” Williams mentioned about his future plans.

Williams earned his affiliate’s diploma in jail and began engaged on a bachelor’s.

He’s not holding a grudge.

“I knew it was gonna occur. I by no means have up,” Williams mentioned.

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The DA’s workplace mentioned it regrettably can’t give these years again to Williams, but it surely can provide him his identify again.