NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has moved to vacate the conviction of a man who’s been in prison for 30 years.
Back in 1987, Mark Denny was only 16 years old when he was convicted of the robbery and gang rape of an 18-year-old woman inside a Burger King in Brooklyn.
Now, Gonzalez said that case doesn’t hold up and has asked to have the conviction thrown out.
Gonzalez said the Conviction Review Unit carefully examined all of the evidence, including the statements of the victim and Denny’s co-defendants, and there is every indication that Denny wasn’t at the scene of the crime.
“After a lengthy and extensive investigation into this horrific case, I have concluded that the cause of justice requires that we vacate the conviction of Mr. Denny,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said three decades ago there was little information about memories and their effect on the identification made by witnesses.
“The false identification was not the fault of the courageous victim or law enforcement personnel, but happened because little was known back then about memory retention and retrieval, and their effect on eyewitness identification. I am firm in my commitment to correct any injustice that took place in Brooklyn,” Gonzalez said.
Denny maintained his innocence all these years, and three men convicted in the crime said that he wasn’t there.
Denny doesn’t appear to be resentful or angry that is youth was stolen by a flawed system.
He’s looking forward to a meal with his mom and a conversation about the future.
“I’m overwhelmed thinking of what I’ll do next to get my life back on track,” he said.
He said his family stood by him, and his lowest point came when he learned his mother became financially ruined raising money for the fight to overturn his conviction.
Their bond was never broken, and they are taking steps to restart their interrupted lives.
Denny was exonerated with help from The Innocence Project, and said he’d like to try his hand at becoming a barber, maybe even owning his own shop.