AFRICANGLOBE – Another inmate who spent years in prison for a highly questionable murder conviction was released in Brooklyn Tuesday, bringing the count of those cleared of old homicides so far this year to seven.
Roger Logan, 53, spent nearly 17 years behind bars for the 1997 homicide of Sherwin Gibbons in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but has always maintained his innocence.
“It’s been a long wait,” he said after getting sprung in Brooklyn Supreme Court. “I want to just taste the freedom.”
The sole eyewitness against him was in police custody for much of the July day in which the shooting took place, contradicting her trial testimony that she saw Logan playing dice that afternoon.
“That testimony – whether by design or by mistake – was false,” assistant district attorney Mark Hale told a judge.
“That witness could not have made these observations because she was incarcerated.”
Logan has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, based largely on the woman’s now-discredited account.
Retired detective Louis Scarcella, whose rotten tactics prompted an unprecedented review of some 57 cases he had handled, was involved in the investigation, sources said.
He had questioned Logan, asked him to frame a third individual and, when he refused, got him to sign a statement that he was at the location. He later produced the eyewitness who fingered Logan, said the freed man’s lawyer Harold Baker.
“That they went into so much trouble to frame this person shocks the conscious,” the lawyer said.
Logan himself contacted Brooklyn prosecutors last year, after a man named David Ranta was exonerated, opening the Scarcella can of worms.
He did not have a lawyer until Tuesday and was only told of his impending release about an hour before walking out into the afternoon sun, he said.
“I just thank anybody who was involved,” he said.
Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson, who ramped up the conviction integrity review unit since he took office this year, is standing by 11 guilty verdicts obtained by Scarcella, his spokeswoman said.
Names of those defendants are not being released yet.
The new DA, who unseated Charles Hynes last fall, already cleared six men, all of whom spent over 20 years in prison.
The latest freed defendant raised his arms in relief after a judge vacated his conviction as his loved ones who sat in the courtroom erupted in tearful applause.
“It’s so magical,” Logan’s cousin Ursula Nalls said. “This is the miracle we’ve been waiting for.”
Logan credited his supporters with allowing him to survive all these years behind bars and said he is looking forward to spending time with them.
“And I want to get out of these crummy clothes,” he added, pointing to his dress khaki pants. “It’s definitely not me.”
By: Oren Yaniv