- A Philadelphia man has been exonerated 34 years after a murder conviction.
- A district attorney team found evidence of his innocence in old police files, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- The investigation found concealed documents showing informants had lied to police, and a witness identified a different suspect.
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A Philadelphia man has been exonerated after decades in prison, after old evidence resurfaced that pointed to a different suspect, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 1984, South Philadelphia store owner Il Man Heo was fatally shot in an armed robbery.
60-year-old Curtis Crosland was convicted of murder and served 34 years in prison. He was released on June 24.
A special unit of the District Attorney’s office found investigators had illegally concealed evidence, including documentation that police informants who identified Crosland had lied. The witnesses said detectives had coerced them into testifying with threats of jail, according to the Inquirer.
Multiple eyewitnesses to the crime confirmed Crosland’s innocence, and one even identified another suspect.
Crosland had previously tried nine times to overturn the conviction, representing himself in court when attorneys failed to help him make a case, the Inquirer reported.
“It made me very emotional,” Crosland, a father of five, told the Inquirer. “It was difficult to even share with my family some of the things I learned that happened to me.”
The Conviction Integrity Unit has previously exonerated 20 other people since 2018 by re-examining the evidence, according to the District Attorney’s website. All but two of those cases involved Black people, who collectively served a total of more than 400 years in prison for crimes they were found not to have committed. Pennsylvania does not offer compensation for those wrongfully convicted.