In a significant legal turnaround, Jabar Walker was exonerated in a Manhattan court for a double homicide he was wrongfully convicted of over two decades ago. Walker, who consistently maintained his innocence, was visibly emotional as he left the courtroom, expressing a deep desire to spend time with his family.
Walker was convicted in May 1995 for the murder of two men near 148th Street and Broadway, receiving two consecutive sentences of 25 years to life. The case against him, as recently acknowledged by prosecutors, was primarily based on unreliable and coerced testimony.
An 11-month collaborative investigation between the Innocence Project and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office uncovered critical inconsistencies in the testimony of the sole eyewitness. This witness, it was revealed, had received monetary benefits from the prosecution. Furthermore, a second witness recanted his testimony, claiming he was pressured into falsely implicating Walker by police officers.
This exoneration, alongside another homicide case vacated by the Manhattan DA’s Office on the same day, highlights the ongoing issue of evidence suppression in criminal trials. Advocates argue these cases demonstrate the frequency with which such suppression occurs.
Walker’s mother, Patrice Walker, spoke of her belief in her son’s eventual return home, though the timing was uncertain. Walker’s legal team emphasized that his commitment and persistence were crucial in challenging his conviction, which otherwise would have seen him imprisoned until 2046.