'Long-Buried Evidence' Wins Inmate His Freedom
Jonathan Fleming long maintained he was out of state when 1989 murder occurred
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2014 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Jonathan Fleming has spent 24 years in prison for a murder that took place in New York on August 15, 1989—even though Fleming offered quite a bit of proof he was at Disney World in Florida with his family that day. The assistant district attorney handling the 1990 court case argued that Fleming could have flown to New York, committed the murder, then flown back to Florida, and Fleming was convicted. Now, it turns out authorities had evidence all along that Fleming was indeed in Florida as he claimed, and did not turn it over during the trial. After a lengthy fight to clear his name, Fleming, now 51, is expected to be released today after having his charges dismissed at a hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court, ProPublica reports.

Fleming has admitted he was a drug dealer in Brooklyn at the time of Darryl "Black" Rush's murder, but the prosecution's case was largely based on the testimony of a sole witness who claimed to have seen Fleming shoot Rush. Soon after Fleming's conviction, she recanted, saying police threatened to imprison her on felony charges if she didn't cooperate, the New York Daily News reports. The judge who presided over the trial didn't believe the recantation, but Fleming's team recently found proof that a charge against the woman was indeed dropped—as well as a receipt placing Fleming in a Florida hotel hours before the murder and a police report citing hotel employees who remembered Fleming being there, neither of which were turned over by prosecutors during Fleming's trial despite the fact that Fleming's defense attorney inquired about the receipt. Things really started to turn around for Fleming last November, when his team found the suspected getaway driver in the murder, who cleared Fleming and implicated someone else. More on the case at ProPublica.