“To hear that there’s been public acknowledgment of what was done to me — that’s when I get a bit emotional,’ Burton said while wiping tears away from his eyes.
“It just felt like a weight was officially lifted,” he confessed.
It took an exhaustive two-year investigation led by the Bronx District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit and Burton’s legal team with lawyers from the Innocence Project to prove there had been a miscarriage of justice.
It was ultimately discovered that detectives had unlawfully coerced a false confession out of Burton for murdering his mother. And according to the New York Post, Emmanuel Green, a 22-year-old felon, who lived below the Burtons, is believed to be the true killer.
Witnesses spotted Green driving Burton’s mother’s stolen car just days after the murder and had information only the killer would know. But despite that evidence investigators focused on Burton and accused him of the unthinkable.
Despite being a minor Burton was charged as an adult and convicted of second-degree murder, weapons possession charges and given the sentence of 15 years-to-life. In 2009 he was released on parole and currently works in elevator construction.
“My mother was one of the strongest people I’ve ever known … one of the things that she did was respect the law and respect law enforcement. But at the time of her death, she wasn’t respected by the law or law enforcement,” he said to the judge on Thursday.
“When my mother was murdered the investigation was 48 hours. Had they taken a longer look, a more analytical look, they may have not rushed the judgment,” he continued.
As for his advice to other prisoners who might be in a similar position: “Don’t give up, don’t stop the fight.”
African Americans are 13% of the population but are 47% of 1,900 exonerations listed in 2016 Nat'l Registry of Exonerations — a reminder that race infects every stage of our criminal justice system
Read about Huwe Burton, wrongly convicted at 16.https://t.co/pHNdQySarY
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) January 25, 2019