Kalimah Truesdale isn't a lawyer or a member of the NYPD. In fact, when she got the call informing her that her brother was being charged with murder, she was at her job at Home Depot. And yet she was "the one who cracked" the 2009 case, Robert Grossman, a lawyer whose specialty is post-conviction cases, tells the New Yorker. The magazine outlines a little sister's dogged quest to free her wrongfully convicted brother. That phone call came in 2011, two years after a teen was murdered in her Bronx neighborhood. Steven Odiase, then 25 and five years older than his sister, was identified by a self-admitted "buzzed" witness as one of the two shooters and convicted. And Truesdale's quest began. She began asking around, and secretly recording anyone who seemed to know something about the crime.
And she found something—a female eyewitness who said it wasn't Odiase—but a new motion was denied and Odiase was in 2013 sentenced to 25 years to life. It was Odiase who learned about Grossman and his partner, Jonathan Edelstein, and they followed up on Truesdale's digging, sending a PI to talk to the woman. She said she had told what she saw to a detective. That confused Truesdale, who didn't remember seeing her name in the police report. What happened next caused Grossman to exclaim "Holy s---!" The attorneys ended up with two copies of the police report, one that referenced the woman, and one that didn't. Odiase's trial attorney had been given the latter. "This was not an accident," Edelstein says. On Monday, the guilty verdict was vacated and Odiase was released; the Bronx DA tells the New York Times she is not sure whether she will retry the case. Read the New Yorker's piece in full. (Read more wrongful conviction stories.)