Based on the files of the lawyers who freed them, Wrongful Conviction features interviews with men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit – some of them had even been sentenced to death. These are their stories.
Richard Rosario was convicted of a murder that took place on Turnbull Avenue in the Bronx on June 19, 1996, based on the testimony of two witnesses who had picked his picture out of a book of police photos. There was no other evidence linking him to the crime. Mr. Rosario did not know the victim or the witnesses. On June 30, 1996, after he heard that the authorities were looking for him, Mr. Rosario took pains to set things straight. He got on a Greyhound bus in Florida on June 30, arrived in New York the next day and voluntarily contacted the police. He named more than a dozen people in Florida who he said would vouch for him including a pastor and a sheriffs deputy. But the police did not follow up, and prosecutors charged him with murder based on the statements of the two eyewitnesses. Mr. Rosario was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life. When Mr. Rosario challenged his conviction in state court in 2004, seven more witnesses appeared to say he had been in Florida around the time of the murder. He was released in 2016 after serving 20 years when the Bronx District Attorneys office concluded that Mr. Rosario did not receive a fair trial.