The dramatic moment man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit is exonerated
Dramatic footage has been released of a man who spent 17 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit crying and clutching the hands of the judge who exonerated him.
John Bunn, a 41-year-old man from Brooklyn, New York, was just 14-years-old when he was arrested and convicted for second-degree murder. Bunn has always maintained his innocence in relation to the crime, which saw the murder of an off-duty correction officer, Rolando Neischer, and the attempted murder of his partner, Robert Crosson in 1991.
Bunn and Rosean Hargrave - another local teenager - were accused of dragging the officers out of their car before shooting them and stealing the vehicle. Crosson survived the incident and became the only witness to the case.
Having spent years in prison trying to clear his name, working with attorneys from the Exoneration Initiative, Bunn was granted parole in 2009. Seven years later, in 2016, his murder conviction was tossed out, and just this week he was officially exonerated of the charge.
Bunn's claims of innocence were only listened to after it was revealed that Louis Scarcella - the lead detective on the case - used "false and misleading practices" during his time in the New York Police Department. Scarcella was accused of manipulating witnesses, giving misleading testimony and coercing confessions.
Bunn's legal team have suggested that there were issues with the case from the very beginning, citing the fact that Crosson once described the suspects as being "light-skinned men in their 20s". Not only this, but fingerprints that were found at the crime scene did not belong to the teenagers.
The New York Daily News reports the Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Shawn'Dya Simpson told Bunn:
"I am more than emotional about this day. You were 14 at the time. This shouldn’t have ever happened.
"Move forward. Keep me posted."
CNN reports Bunn as saying in court;
"They won't admit and say that I'm an innocent man. But I'm an innocent man, your honor, and I have always been an innocent man.
"You all convicted and had a wrong man in prison, and you all still have somebody on the loose that killed someone."
Following his release on parole in 2009, Bunn went on to set up the nonprofit organisation AVoice4TheUnheard, which aims "to not let any of America’s 2,200,000 prisoners to feel neglected or underrepresented".
As for Hargrave, he has also been exonerated for the crime. On Monday, a judge informed him that his murder conviction had been tossed out after he served 24 years in prison.