A New Yorker, born in Guyana, who spent the last 30 years of his life in prison, is now on his way home for Christmas after the Brooklyn District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office on Wednesday moved to vacate his conviction and to dismiss the charges of rape and robbery laid against him.
47-year-old Mark Denny appeared before the Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’ Emic who made the exoneration official.
According to New York Daily News, Denny was exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project, which had been working on his case since 2009.
Upon hearing that he was being freed, Denny smiled and waved to his family and friends who filled the court gallery.
“I’m overwhelmed thinking of what I’ll do next to get my life back on track. I have no ill feelings towards the victim. Going to prison was a traumatic experience mentally. There are a lot of people in my position. I appreciate everyone for all they have done for me” said Denny.
Denny was accused along with three other persons for a late night robbery and rape committed at Burger King in Kensington on December 20, 1987.
They were accused of raping an 18-year-old employee of the establishment after allegedly braking into the place and stealing $3000 in cash.
The victim was reportedly blindfolded during a portion of the attack and may have passed out.
Denny however, became a suspect in the matter in March of 1988 after he was busted with an unlicenced gun. He had been arrested in a car with the three other defendants, who were wanted for reportedly robbing a Manhattan Burger King.
However, the victim at first was unable to identify Denny as the perpetrator when a photo was showed to her but later identified him in a line up.
Also during his trial, the victim was vague in her description of him and his actions.
According to the New York Daily News, the Guyana-born man was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to 19 to 57 years in prison. However, he always maintained his innocence throughout — even through parole hearings.
Denny, who migrated to the United States as a child was the 24th person to have his conviction vacated by the DA’s Conviction Review Unit.
Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said his review team examined the evidence and interviewed witnesses as well as Denny’s co-defendants in the case.
“After a lengthy and extensive investigation into this horrific case, I have concluded that the cause of justice requires that we vacate the conviction of Mr. Denny,” Gonzalez said in a statement.