Monday, March 22, 2010

CT: Judge Orders Two Prisoners To Be Set Free After Wrongful Murder Conviction

Crooked police again. If there were any justice the cops concerned would now be put away for 16 years

Two men serving life sentences for the murder of a Fair Haven bodega owner have been ordered set free after more than 16 years behind bars.

Calling the matter a "manifest injustice," Superior Court Judge Stanley Fuger Jr. reversed the convictions of George Gould, 48, and Ronald Taylor, 51, the two New Haven men charged with the July 1993 slaying of bodega owner Eugenio DeLeon Vega.

Fuger's decision hinged on admissions by two key witnesses who said they had been pressured by police to give false testimony. Investigators also found that DNA on the electrical cord used to bind the hands of the slain shop owner didn't belong to either of the two men convicted of killing him, nor were their fingerprints among those found on the door handle of the store's safe.

"It is now an inescapable conclusion that a manifest injustice has been done to these two men," Fuger wrote in his decision, dated Thursday. "George Gould and Ronald Taylor have been convicted and spent over 16 years in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction for a crime that, based upon all of the available evidence, they did not commit."

Taylor's wife, Mary, with whom Taylor has a 21-year-old daughter, said Thursday she was pleased with the judge's findings. "I always knew Ron didn't do this. There was never a day ... that I ever believed Ron had anything to do with this. I lived with the man. I know the man," she said. "When you know someone's a decent human being and you know they're innocent of something, you stand by them."

Calls to attorneys for both men were not returned.

Vega died of a single gunshot wound to the left temple a short time after he opened his store on July 4, 1993. He was tied up with an electrical cord and shot execution-style inside a small cooler.

The state's principal witness, a prostitute named Doreen Stiles, testified at Taylor and Gould's joint trial that she hid in an alleyway next to the store after seeing Gould go inside. She then overheard three people arguing about money, followed by screams and a single gunshot. She testified she saw both men leaving the store before Vega's body was discovered in the cooler.

But last year, Stiles admitted that she lied about seeing the men, saying she made the story up because police threatened to send her to jail if she didn't implicate them.

Original report here

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