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2002-09-06

Central Park Jogger Case Is Reopened After New Dna Evidence Shows Five African-American and Latino Youths Who Were Imprisoned for Years Did Not Commit the Rape

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Attorneys for the original defendants in the infamous central park jogger case held a press conference yesterday calling for a reversal of the convictions now that new evidence has emerged.

It was a case that rocked the city, inflaming racial tensions in New York and around the country. In April 1989 a young white jogger in Central Park was raped, beaten and left for dead. Five African-American and Latino teenagers were convicted. They served many years in jail; the last just got out of prison several weeks ago after thirteen years. At the time, the headlines screamed, 'Wolf Pack', 'Wilding,' 'Teenagers singing wilding songs in prison.'

It may well have been a deciding factor in the New York State Legislature’s decision to re-establish the state’s death penalty. Shortly after the attack Donald Trump took out full paid ads in all the New York papers calling to "Bring Back the Death Penalty" and referring to the young defendants in the jogger case as good candidates for execution.

In news that was barely reported just this last January, convicted rapist Matias Reyes unexpectedly confessed to the crime. He said he did it alone. Several months later, DNA tests showed that Reyes "proved beyond question" that he raped the jogger, according to a law enforcement official quoted in the New York Times.

The first hearing on the case will be on Monday. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it is reviewing the case.

Guest:

  • Bill Perkins, New York City Council Member

Contact:

Guest:

  • Michael Warren, attorney for Central Park Jogger defendants

Guest:

  • Roger Wareham, co-counsel with Warren in the Central Park Jogger

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