4 Accused Killers Freed After Convictions Overturned

3 of the men were behind bars for 17 years, another for 23

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 3:21 PM CST

(Newser) – Four New York men saw their murder convictions overturned and were released from prison yesterday in two unrelated cases, notes Daily Intel.

  • Michael Cosme, Devon Ayers, and Carlos Perez were behind bars for 17 years after being convicted of two murders in 1995. They had already been exonerated of killing a cab driver, and two others convicted in that case were freed last month. But Cosme, Ayers, and Perez were still in prison for the second murder, until prosecutors asked a judge to vacate their sentences, the New York Times reports. The second slaying had been too closely linked to the first, the prosecutors said. They have 90 days to see if there's any new evidence.

  • William Lopez was in prison for 23 years after being convicted of killing a man during a robbery attempt on a drug den in 1989, the Wall Street Journal reports. The only witness to identify Lopez as the murderer later admitted to being on a two-day crack bender the night of the killing, and Lopez's case was further plagued by defense attorneys who didn't follow up on appeals, investigate evidence that could have cleared Lopez, or interview the people who said they were with him at the time of the murder. The judge also noted insufficient evidence when overturning the conviction. Prosecutors plan to appeal the decision, and potentially re-try Lopez.

  (Shutterstock)
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