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2002-10-31

Juror Speaks Out Against Convictions in the Central Park Jogger Case: A Meeting Between the Juror and the Mother of One of the Young Men Who Was Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

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It has been 13 years since Harold Brueland and Sharonne Salaam may have last seen each other in a Manhattan courtroom. Brueland was serving as a juror in a case where Salaam’s son, Yusef, was charged in the Central Park Jogger case.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office had charged Yusef and four other youths in the beating and rape of a young investment banker in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. The DA had confessions from four of the boys and they claimed forensic evidence directly linked one of the boys to the crime scene.

After 10 days of deliberations, the jury that Harold Brueland served on convicted Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray and Raymond Santana. Each boy was sentenced to 10 or more years in jail.

Over the past year new evidence has emerged in the case that has prompted Brueland and many others to question if justice was served 13 years in that New York courtroom.

First a convicted serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. He said he did it alone. Then DNA evidence linked Reyes directly to the crime scene. And last week, a former police scientist who testified at the trials said that strands of hair presented as physical evidence did not definitively "match" the hair of the victim.

Attorneys for the Central Park Five have called for their convictions to be thrown out. By December 5, the Manhattan District Attorney’s will announce whether it would ask the court to reverse the convictions of five men.

Today on Democracy Now we are joined by former juror Harold Brueland and Sharonne Salaam, who are meeting here for the first time.

Guests:

  • Harold Brueland, served on the 1990 juror that convicted Antron McCray, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam.
  • Sharonne Salaam, mother of Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five.

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