Innocent Brooklyn man freed after year in prison

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A prison cell with an open door.

A prison cell with an open door. © windzepher - Fotolia.com

Ronald Bozeman was in good spirits according to the New York Post after being released from prison last week. Bozeman, 65, had spent over a year in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Bozeman was cleared of all charges related to a $9,000 robbery that occurred in downtown Brooklyn last year. Two witnesses had asserted to a grand jury that Bozeman was the gunman. Court records show these witnesses subsequently named another man, George Johnson, as the gunman during a second grand jury.

Prosecutors have moved forward in the case against Johnson. A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said in a statement: “Based on a faulty ID procedure which we discovered and alerted the defense attorney to, we moved to have the charges against Bozeman dismissed.” Johnson has pleaded guilty to participation in the robbery.

Bozeman, who was held without bail and faced life in prison, was freed last Wednesday. “I feel relieved and not as bitter as I thought I would be,” he told the press. “The first thing I’m going to do is go get something to eat with my family.”

This mishap is being compared to the case of Jabbar Collins, an innocent man who went to prison for 15 years after being prosecuted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. Collins is now suing for $150 million in damages amid accusations that Michael Vecchione, who prosecuted this case, threatened a witness and withheld evidence for over a decade that could have exonerated Collins. Vecchione is now a top aide to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.