Man cleared of Brooklyn murder after 25 years in prison - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Man cleared of Brooklyn murder after 25 years in prison

Posted: Updated:
Jonathan Fleming arrives at Brooklyn's Supreme Court, April 8, 2014, in New York. Valerie Brown, right, is his ex-wife. (AP photo/Bebeto Matthews) Jonathan Fleming arrives at Brooklyn's Supreme Court, April 8, 2014, in New York. Valerie Brown, right, is his ex-wife. (AP photo/Bebeto Matthews)
MYFOXNY.COM/AP -

A man who spent almost a quarter-century behind bars for murder was freed Tuesday and cleared of a killing that happened when he was 1,100 miles away on a Disney World vacation.

Jonathan Fleming was in tears as he hugged his lawyers and family in a Brooklyn courtroom. Relatives said, "Thank you, God!" after he was freed.

"A lot of people probably didn't believe me. I wrote the district attorney's office for many years. I never got a response back from them. In 2011, I got a letter from a man in the integrity unit. They did an investigation. A year ago, I contacted some investigators. They did the field work. They got new evidence to get me back to the courts," said Fleming on Thursday.

He has never used a cell phone or sent an email.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors asked a Brooklyn judge to dismiss Fleming's conviction in the 1989 shooting. A key eyewitness recanted, new witnesses have implicated someone else and a review by prosecutors turned up a hotel receipt putting Fleming in Florida hours before the killing, defense lawyers Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss said.

"I feel wonderful," Fleming said outside court. "I've always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday."

Asked about his plans: "I'm going to go eat dinner with my mother and my family, and I'm going to live the rest of my life."

From the start, Fleming told authorities he had been in Orlando, Fla., when a friend, Darryl "Black" Rush, was shot to death in Brooklyn early on Aug. 15, 1989. Authorities suggested the shooting was motivated by a dispute over money.

Fleming had plane tickets, videos and postcards from his trip, his lawyers said, but authorities suggested he could have been in New York at the actual time of the shooting, and a woman testified that she had seen him shoot Rush.

The eyewitness recanted her testimony soon after Fleming's 1990 conviction, saying she had lied so police would cut her loose for an unrelated arrest, but Fleming lost his appeals.

The defense asked the DA's office to review the case last year.

Defense investigators found previously untapped witnesses who implicated someone else as the gunman, the attorneys said, declining to give the witnesses' or potential suspect's names before prosecutors investigate them.

And prosecutors' review produced a hotel receipt that Fleming paid in Florida about five hours before the shooting — a document that police had evidently had since they found in Fleming's pocket on arresting him, Mayol and Koss said.

Patricia Fleming, 79, was with her only son in Orlando at the time of the crime. She testified at his trial, but the jury evidently didn't believe her.

"I knew he didn't do it, because I was there," she said. "When they gave my son 25-to-life, I thought I would die in that courtroom."

Still, she said, "I never did give up because I knew he was innocent."

"I want to go back to school. They're not trying to help guys getting out," said Fleming.

The exoneration, first reported by the New York Daily News, comes amid scrutiny of Brooklyn prosecutors' process for reviewing questionable convictions — scrutiny that comes partly from the new DA Kenneth Thompson himself. He unseated longtime DA Charles "Joe" Hynes last year after a campaign that focused partly on wrongful convictions on Hynes' watch. Hynes had created a special conviction integrity unit to review false-conviction claims, but some saw the effort as slow-moving and defensive.

Thompson took office in January. In February, his office agreed to dismiss the murder convictions of two men who had spent more than 20 years in prison for three killings, saying newly discovered evidence had raised substantial doubts about their guilt.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Brooklyn NewsBrooklyn NewsMore>>

  • New York Islanders to be sold

    New York Islanders to be sold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:54 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:54:30 GMT
    The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor. In a statement Tuesday, the team says a group led by former Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin has reached an agreement to buy a "substantial" minority interest in the team.
    The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor. In a statement Tuesday, the team says a group led by former Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin has reached an agreement to buy a "substantial" minority interest in the team.
  • De Blasio not reimbursing city

    De Blasio not reimbursing city

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:37 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:37:49 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio won't be reimbursing the city for personal travels that involve his security detail. "We have followed the conflict of interest board guidelines. I am following their guidelines to the letter," said de Blasio. The mayor has been heavily criticized for not paying the city back for travel expenses. Attention around the issue started last week when de Blasio was spotted not paying for a subway ride to Barclays Center while on official business.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio won't be reimbursing the city for personal travels that involve his security detail. "We have followed the conflict of interest board guidelines. I am following their guidelines to the letter," said de Blasio. The mayor has been heavily criticized for not paying the city back for travel expenses. Attention around the issue started last week when de Blasio was spotted not paying for a subway ride to Barclays Center while on official business.
  • Ex-Army psychiatrist to be NYC's veterans head

    Ex-Army psychiatrist to be NYC's veterans head

    Monday, August 18 2014 3:29 PM EDT2014-08-18 19:29:48 GMT

    A retired brigadier general who was the Army's highest-ranking psychiatrist has been named New York City's veterans affairs' commissioner. She said she'll use her expertise on post-traumatic stress disorder to serve the city's 200,000 veterans.


    A retired brigadier general who was the Army's highest-ranking psychiatrist has been named New York City's veterans affairs' commissioner. She said she'll use her expertise on post-traumatic stress disorder to serve the city's 200,000 veterans.


  • Today on Good DayToday on Good DayMore>>

  • Constantine Maroulis back on Broadway

    Constantine Maroulis back on Broadway

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-08-19 17:28:55 GMT
    Singer Constantine Maroulis is back on Broadway in Rock of Ages and he couldn't be more excited. “It's incredible. I think every actor's dream is to create a role that becomes an iconic show all around the world. The show is played for millions of people. To be back on Broadway is a great time,” said Maroulis. The Brooklyn born New Jersey raised performer returned to the role he helped create this summer. The question was never if, but when, he would come back.
    Singer Constantine Maroulis is back on Broadway in Rock of Ages and he couldn't be more excited. “It's incredible. I think every actor's dream is to create a role that becomes an iconic show all around the world. The show is played for millions of people. To be back on Broadway is a great time,” said Maroulis. The Brooklyn born New Jersey raised performer returned to the role he helped create this summer. The question was never if, but when, he would come back.
  • Back-to-school tech

    Back-to-school tech

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:26:29 GMT
    The school year is about to begin and gadgets are on just about every student's shopping list. Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Laptop Magazine and Tom's Guide, shared his favorite devices for back-to-school. He likes the Fugoo Speaker; Nvidia Shield Tablet; The 3doodler and Virgin Mobile Custom Android Phones.
    The school year is about to begin and gadgets are on just about every student's shopping list. Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Laptop Magazine and Tom's Guide, shared his favorite devices for back-to-school. He likes the Fugoo Speaker; Nvidia Shield Tablet; The 3doodler and Virgin Mobile Custom Android Phones.
  • 10th annual NY-Penn League All Star Game

    10th annual NY-Penn League All Star Game

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-08-19 14:14:36 GMT
    Many of Major League Baseball's biggest stars will turn out for a special event at Brooklyn's MCU Park.  The 10th Annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 19. The players will be on hand to sign autographs prior to the Celebrity/Civil Service Softball challenge. Rosanna Scotto will be the captain of the blue team. Greg Kelly will be playing, too.
    Many of Major League Baseball's biggest stars will turn out for a special event at Brooklyn's MCU Park.  The 10th Annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 19. The players will be on hand to sign autographs prior to the Celebrity/Civil Service Softball challenge. Rosanna Scotto will be the captain of the blue team. Greg Kelly will be playing, too.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices