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Judge reverses conviction, freeing man jailed 25 years ago

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The conviction of a man 25 years ago for the murder of a friend has been overturned.

The woman was found dead, naked, beaten and dragged into a cross-like position in a park, after she left her apartment with the friend who was eventually accused of her murder.

Andre Hatchett’s conviction was overturned on Thursday after prosecutors and defense lawyers said a review of his case had found too many problems for it to stand.

The report said there were several relatives sitting in the courtroom, Hatchett beamed and applauded as his conviction was was overturned.

Hatchett said, “I’m so happy to be free again … I told my family, ‘I’ll be home one day,’ and they know I don’t lie to them.

“I lost my son in here, my mother, my brother, my aunt. I’m just holding on, and now I’m going to get back up,” he added as he left the courthouse, hugging his family members.

According to ABCNEWS, Hatchett’s then-lawyers were never told that prosecutors’ star witness had originally identified another man as the killer. The witness falsely denied on the stand that he’d smoked crack on the day of the killing. And the fact that Hatchett had injuries that raise doubts about his ability to carry out the crime went unmentioned at trial.

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“Bad judgment and errors plagued this case from beginning to end,” one of his lawyers, Jim Brochin, said in a statement ahead of a court date Thursday afternoon, when Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s office planned to ask a judge to throw out Hatchett’s conviction.

“Mr. Hatchett was failed by almost every institution he came into contact with” in a case with sloppy police work, careless prosecutors and a defense that was at best perfunctory, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale said Thursday.

His case was among more than 100 that Brooklyn prosecutors have been re-examining, in one of the most ambitious reviews of its kind in the country. So far, the DA’s office has disavowed 19 convictions and is standing by 38 others, the report has said.


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