Mocobizscene- On Thursday, a Manhattan judge decided to overturn the murder convictions of two childhood friends who were accused of killing a French tourist on New Year’s Day in 1987. Eric Smokes, a 19-year-old, and David Warren, a 16-year-old, were sentenced to prison for the murder of Jean Casse. The unfortunate incident occurred on West 52 Street moments after the ball dropped in Times Square.
Smokes, who is 56 years old, was released from prison in 2011 after serving a sentence of 24 years. Similarly, Warren, who is 53 years old, was released in 2007 after completing a 20-year sentence.
The pair remains the best of friends even after all these years. They have remained steadfast in their friendship and unwavering in their pursuit of justice.
Warren firmly expressed his innocence and refused to take any pleas during his court proceedings. He emphasized that he and his co-defendant did not commit any wrongdoing. Warren maintained his loyalty to his co-defendant, stating that he would not betray him as he hadn’t done anything wrong.
Despite the challenges they faced, the duo remained steadfast in their pursuit of a better future. Their unwavering determination fueled their perseverance, pushing them to never lose sight of their goals.
“Smokes believes that while many people claim that the system is ineffective, it actually does work, albeit at a slow pace.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office’s Post-Conviction Justice Unit has taken steps to exonerate the two men. Following an investigation conducted with defense counsel, it was discovered that the teenage witnesses who testified at the trial had been treated as suspects.
During the trial, another teenager who had previously claimed to witness the attack changed his testimony. He admitted that the police had coerced him into accusing Smokes and Warren by telling him that another witness had already identified them. The police also threatened him with charges if he did not comply.
“I am deeply moved by the unwavering determination of Eric Smokes and David Warren, who endured unjust convictions that robbed them of precious years of their lives. Today’s decision brings me hope that they will finally find solace and the justice they deserve,” expressed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Years later, their sole desire was to clear their names and restore their reputations.
“I wish my wife could have been here for this momentous day, but unfortunately, she passed away. Nevertheless, I like to believe that she is here with us in spirit,” Warren expressed with a touch of sadness in his voice.
Smokes’ son, who was just an infant when he departed for prison, is now 38 years old. After spending 25 long years behind bars, Smokes and Warren are now contemplating the possibility of returning to court in pursuit of compensation for the wrongful convictions they fought tirelessly to have vacated.
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