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Murder Conviction Tossed After 17 Years, Amid Review Of Retired Detective’s Cases

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man who was imprisoned for 17 years was released Tuesday, after a judge vacated his conviction on the grounds that evidence in the case was linked to a police detective whose tactics have come into question.

Roger Logan, 53, was woke up at the Clinton Correctional Facility upstate on Tuesday morning, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

He found out later in the day that a judge was vacating his conviction, and walked out of prison Tuesday afternoon, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.

“It’s just a blessing to be home,” he said.

Logan’s family also found out only on Tuesday morning that he was about to be released.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, Logan was back Tuesday afternoon with with his wife Sonji, daughters Leah and Melanie, and 7-year-old grandson Brandon. And for the first time ever, he held his 2-year-old granddaughter, Malia.

Logan spoke to reporters outside the Brooklyn Courthouse.

“I prayed for 18 years. Prayed, prayed every day to come home, and finally it happened,” he said.

An investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office Conviction Review Unit found that the woman who implicated Logan was herself in jail on the day of the 1997 murder of Sherwin Gibbons in Bedford-Stuyvesant over a game of dice.

“Being locked up for a crime that you didn’t do, you never know the feeling of that until it happens to you,” Logan said.

The woman was handpicked by now-retired NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella.

“That they went through so much trouble to manufacture a case against an innocent man shocks the conscience when you think to yourself that the guy who really did it, is out there,” said Logan’s attorney, Harold Baker.

A review of several murder cases investigated by Scarcella began last year after another man convicted of murder was released on new evidence that Scarcella had coached a witness. Since then, other convicts have renewed their allegations that Scarcella fabricated confessions and manipulated witnesses.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s office has a campaign to free the wrongly convicted, with a focus on cases connected to Scarcella.

Last year, Scarcella told CBS 2 he never framed anyone and did not coach witnesses.

But Logan said Scarcella was “playing cat and mouse games with me in the precinct, so I knew from the start that this cop wasn’t playing fair.”

Logan said hearing that the Brooklyn DA was investigating the detective who had interrogated him 17 years ago gave him hope.

“I contacted the office and told them that I was innocent, that Detective Scarcella had framed me, and I needed help,” Logan said.

Logan said he is not angry or bitter.

“The freedom and the love of the family — that’s all I want right now. That’s the most important thing – my freedom and my love of my family. I can’t ask for nothing more,” Logan said. “It’s worth more than all the money in the world.”

But many in his family are furious the system let him down — and for so long.

“I gained my husband back, my children’s father, my grandchildren’s grandfather – I’m gaining a lot back,” said Sonji Logan. “But we lost a lot over the years.”

Logan’s conviction was the seventh to be connected to Scarcella.

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