WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A man who was convicted in 1990 of raping and murdering a high school classmate when he was 16 was freed from prison Wednesday after DNA evidence implicated another man.
Jeffrey Deskovic, 33, hugged his attorney after a judge threw out the conviction, then was greeted by relatives after he was released.
"He's feeling very emotional," said his lawyer, Nina Morrison.
Deskovic's release was set in motion after Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore joined the legal aid group The Innocence Project in calling for his conviction to be overturned.
Deskovic was convicted in the Nov. 15, 1989, rape and murder of Angela Correa, a 15-year-old high school student in Peekskill, 35 miles north of Manhattan. The jury knew that DNA evidence did not point to Deskovic, but police said he had confessed that he hit Correa with a bottle and put his hand over her mouth and "may have left it there too long."
His lawyer at the time had argued that the confession was coerced, but the jury convicted Deskovic and he was sentenced to 15 years to life. He was turned down for parole last year.
The more sophisticated DNA testing that cleared Deskovic was conducted after The Innocence Project took his case. The new tests matched DNA taken from the crime scene to another inmate already serving a life sentence for another Westchester murder.
The name of that inmate has not been made public, but Assistant District Attorney Patricia Murphy said Wednesday that prosecutors plan to charge him with Correa's killing.