Three Black Americans freed after 36 years in prison for murder they did not commit

Three Black Americans from Baltimore have regained their freedom after spending 36 years in prison for murder they didn't commit.

Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart, who were convicted of first-degree murder of a middle school student in 1983.

According to Daily Mail, the men were teens when they were arrested on Thanksgiving Day in 1983, charged with fatally shooting DeWitt Duckett, 14, in the neck while stealing his Georgetown jacket as he walked to school.

The suspects were convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but were granted a writ of innocence on Monday.
The Baltimore Conviction Integrity Unit reopened the case last year after Chestnut obtained sealed documents through a public records request that revealed prosecutors had hidden evidence pointing to another teen – who was fatally shot almost 20 years later.

Lawyers involved in the case said they were “horrified” to see the amount of exculpatory evidence that was hidden from the defense team and jury.

Both the suspects and trial witnesses, all minors, were interrogated by police without their parents. Potential witnesses were interviewed in a group and told to “get their story together,” according to Chestnut’s lawyers.
Their case was re-investigated by the Conviction Integrity Unit within the Baltimore State's Attorney office after Chestnut, 52, wrote a letter in May asking for help.

He said there was new evidence and witness testimony which proved it was a different man who shot Duckett.

Despite other students naming Michael Willis, then 18, as the shooter, police and prosecutors focused on the three innocent teenagers.

Willis had been heard taking credit for the shooting and was even seen wearing Duckett's Georgetown jacket that night.

However the three others were the ones arrested.  
At the hearing on Monday, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Charles J. Peters said: 'On behalf of the criminal justice system, and I’m sure this means very little to you, I’m going to apologize. We’re adjourned.'

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby visited the men in prison on Friday.

She said: 'I’m sorry. The system failed them.

'They should have never had to see the inside of a jail cell.

'We will do everything in our power not only to release them, but to support them as they re-acclimate into society.'

Mosby's Conviction Integrity Unit has so far exonerated nine wrongfully convicted people since she took office in 2015. 

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