The joy of some three American men who spent 36 years in prison for the murder of a US teenager could not be contained as they regained their freedom after their convictions were nullified.
Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were freed from custody hours after a judge cleared them and prosecutors dropped the charges.
They were teenagers when they were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett in Baltimore, Maryland in 1984.
Judge Charles Peters told the men while delivering his verdict, “On behalf of the criminal justice system, and I’m sure this means very little to you gentlemen, I’m going to apologise.”
The case was reopened earlier this year by the office of Baltimore city state’s attorney after Chestnut sent a letter to its conviction integrity unit.
Chestnut included exculpatory evidence he uncovered last year, the Washington Post reported.
Prosecutors now say police reports show multiple witnesses told detectives that another suspect, who was 18 at the time of the crime, was the gunman.
One student saw him flee the scene and dump a gun as police arrived at Harlem Park Junior High School, but authorities at the time focused their investigation on the trio.
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