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Convicted Murderer Freed After Cop's Letter Surfaces

Letter names suspect other than Calvin Bright, who is released on time served
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2020 9:16 AM CST

(Newser) – "I knew this day would eventually come," convicted murderer Calvin Bright said upon walking out of jail in Washington, DC, Wednesday after 25 years. "I never doubted it because I'm innocent." Bright, 47, was sentenced to 65 years to life on two counts of first-degree murder in 1995, but at a re-sentencing hearing Wednesday, the sentence was changed to "time served," reports WUSA. The reason? An old letter from one DC officer to another that named a different suspect in the shooting deaths of Tammy Peay and William Ramsey. The letter identifying the suspect as "Catman," a man of Chinese descent, was written in 1994, but not revealed until two years ago. That's when the US Attorney's Office disclosed finding the letter in a file kept by homicide detectives, according to Bright's lawyer, David Benowitz. Two years of litigation followed.

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"It would have changed everything about this case," says Benowitz, who's represented Bright since 2007. "As Mr. Bright's original counsel testified, had he had that information he would have changed how he investigated the case, how he litigated the case." The letter shows an officer "received info that 'Catman' was the subject who committed the double murder." Benowitz says Bright passed a polygraph test in which he was asked if he was the killer, per CBS News. "I'm just ready to move on with my life," Bright said at the hearing, where his release on time served was secured on the condition that he not sue the district. Working toward an associate's degree, he hopes to find work in criminal justice, and possibly open his own firm, so as to help "the next person that winds up in the predicament that I went into," he tells WUSA. He'll be on probation for five years. (Read more prison release stories.)

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