DA turns down exoneration bid, backed by Martin Sheen, from man convicted in 1998 NYC killing

Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Esteves.

Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Esteves.  (Reuters)

Prosecutors have turned down an inmate's bid to be cleared in the 1998 killing of a retired New York City police officer. The exoneration effort counts actor Martin Sheen among its champions.

The Manhattan district attorney's office agreed in 2011 to review Jon-Adrian Velazquez's case. A DA's office spokeswoman said this week the investigation didn't find "evidence sufficient to demonstrate that Mr. Velazquez is innocent."

Attorneys Celia Gordon and Robert Gottlieb say they now plan to ask a court to vacate Velazquez's conviction and order a new trial.

Velazquez was convicted of shooting Albert Ward in an underground betting parlor.

Some eyewitnesses have since recanted their identifications of Velazquez. His lawyers also raised a lead about another possible suspect.

Sheen spotlighted Velazquez's case after visiting him in prison in 2011.