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View Full Version : And yet another falsely accused "criminal" is exonerated.


RVD
May 15th, 2007, 10:03 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18682370/
DNA test frees man convicted of 2 child slayings
New Jerseyan exonerated after 22 years behind bars

http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/Sources/sourceAP.gif
Updated: 56 minutes ago

ELIZABETH, N.J. - A judge threw out convictions Tuesday against a man who served more than two decades in prison for the rape and murder of two children after a DNA test showed a neighbor may have committed the crimes.

The new DNA evidence would probably have changed the verdict against Byron Halsey, said Superior Court Judge Stuart L. Peim, who vacated the verdict and granted a new trial. Peim set bail at $55,000 and attorneys said Halsey, 46, could be freed later Tuesday.

“Today, we can say with scientific certainty that Byron Halsey is innocent,” said Vanessa Potkin, a lawyer with the Innocence Project, which is representing Halsey. “It has taken more than two decades, but DNA has finally revealed the truth in this case.”

Halsey did not speak during his court appearance, but tears streamed down his face. He has been in custody since 1985.

May seek new charges
Prosecutors were expected to announce at a July 9 hearing whether they would pursue a new trial or drop the charges.

He was convicted in 1988 of murdering and sexually assaulting Tyrone and Tina Urquhart, the children of his girlfriend, with whom he lived at a Plainfield rooming house.

The bodies of Tyrone, 8, and Tina, 7, were found in the home’s basement in November 1985.

Their mother, Margaret Urquhart, said in a statement issued through the Innocence Project she had doubted Halsey’s guilt.

“I knew Byron loved Tyrone and Tina,” Urquhart said. “It didn’t make sense to me that he could have done this. I always had my doubts, but I didn’t know what to do about them.”

The new DNA test shows a neighbor, Clifton Hall, 49, was the source of semen found at the scene. Hall, who testified against Halsey at trial, is now in prison for three sex crimes in early 1990s, authorities said.

It was not clear whether he had an attorney, and state corrections officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Hall.

Confession raised questions
Halsey gave a confession after he was interrogated for 30 hours during a 40-hour period, Innocence Project co-director Barry Scheck said.

“It would be a stretch to say that Byron Halsey even confessed to this crime given the state of mind he was in, the length of the interrogation, the tactics police used, and the words he actually said,” Scheck said.

Halsey had been sentenced to two life terms, plus 20 years. Peim also ordered Halsey to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet when he is released.

Halsey can apply for compensation of $25,000 for each year he was in custody, Potkin said.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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How does a wrongly incarcerated man reclaim 20 years of his life?! :shrug:
$25,000.00 per year he was in custody is BS! What about his family, friends, record, reputation, future financial security potential? Pfff...!

meyerpl
May 15th, 2007, 10:14 PM
It begs the question; how many people would have been advocating for the man's execution once he was convicted of these horrible crimes. The criminal justice system, despite the constitutional protections in place, can never be perfect because of the human element.

Nothing can compensate the man for what he has lost, but at least he hasn't lost everything. Had he been put to death it would be a different story.

RVD
May 15th, 2007, 11:20 PM
It begs the question; how many people would have been advocating for the man's execution once he was convicted of these horrible crimes. The criminal justice system, despite the constitutional protections in place, can never be perfect because of the human element.All true. Still, I can't help but think that the "...30 hours interrogation, during a 40-hour period" was anything other than torturous coercion in order to break him and get a confession. I also can't say that this isn't the norm throughout the legal world, all the way up to the federal pens.
Nothing can compensate the man for what he has lost, but at least he hasn't lost everything. Had he been put to death it would be a different story.This is saddest of all. Maybe death would have been better, in his opinion. We won't really know for certain until after he's lived the rest of his life. :shrug:

Mforensic
May 15th, 2007, 11:28 PM
Justice is blind...often it can take years to find the truth. We just finally have the technology to do so without relying on interrogation tactics and intimidation without physical proof.

ico4498
May 15th, 2007, 11:59 PM
begs so many questions but thank the scientists for DNA!

now, justice aint blind, technology marches on, the lady with the scales is overwhelmed, they're legacy cases (current ones too) that demands a rethink, DAs gain professional repute by successful convictions ... what hope for truth?

Marshmallow
May 16th, 2007, 12:49 AM
Absolutely tragic. Overlooking judicial implications, i just hope this man can rebuild or establish some kind of life after this. Compensated = understatement. How horrible it must have been for him, not just to be imprisoned, but to have people think your were guilty of something like this... Tragic.

Volcana
May 16th, 2007, 04:24 AM
Consider Everyone people are CERTAIN are guilty of something. 'Everybody knows' are two of the most dangerous words in the English language.

Makes you wonder about all the people who 'know' O. J. Simpson murdered his wife.