NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two Brooklyn men were able to walk free Thursday, after spending 21 years behind bars for a triple murder they said they did not commit.
Antonio Yarbough, 39, and Sharrif Wilson, 37, appeared in a Brooklyn courtroom Thursday afternoon. A judge vacated their convictions in the 1992 murder of Yarbough’s mother, 12-year-old sister and the girl’s friend.
Family members cheered as the convictions were vacated, and the handcuffs removed, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“I feel great; I’m happy to be vindicated,” Yarbough said.
Yarbough and Wilson were teenagers in 1992, when they were arrested in the brutal murders in a Coney Island, Brooklyn public housing development. But as CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, the chains of justice that held the two in prison for the past 20 years have finally come off.
“I can’t describe it,” Yarbough said. “I’m so overwhelmed right now, and I’m so grateful”
Attorneys said there is no physical evidence linking either man to the crime and DNA at the scene matched DNA from an unsolved rape and murder case that occurred in 1999 — when the two men already had been in prison for seven years, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“It turned out that that analysis was matched; the DNA found was matched to a subsequent homicide,” said attorney Philip Smallman.
The case was just one of many from the 1980s and ’90s being reviewed for wrongful conviction in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, due to possible coerced confessions and witness intimidation.
Yarbough said he does not harbor any bitterness.
“I have Jesus in my life, so there’s no time for bitterness,” he said. “I have the rest of my life to live right now.”
Now that Yarbough and Wilson are free, the murder case is open again and a killer is still on the loose.
Yarbough said Thursday night that he was just looking forward to having dinner with his family.
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