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Da to drop charges { December 4 2002 }

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ABC News: DA To Drop Charges Against Men Convicted In Central Park Jogger Case

(New York-WABC, December 4, 2002) The convictions of five men in connection with the rape and assault of a woman in Central park in 1989 are about be overturned. ABC News the Manhattan District Attorney will announce Thursday that the convictions will be vacated. The DA's controversial decision follows extensive reports by the Investigator's Sarah Wallace on the Central Park jogger case, who brings us the latest details.
The announcement, which ABC News is reporting will come on Thursday, would be an incredible turnaround in one of New York City's most sensational crime cases. But the decision is touching off outrage among those involved in the original investigation. They are standing by the position that the five young men convicted of several attacks are guilty, of everything.

It was the prison-cell confession Matias Reyes that literally overturned the theory of the Central Park case. Reyes, an imprisoned rapist and murderer, told authorities and later ABC News that he and he alone raped and beat a 28-year-old woman jogger in April of 1989.

Matias Reyes, Convicted Rapist And Murderer: "I thought I left her for dead..."

It would have been easy to dismiss Matias Reyes as a psychopath. He'd raped several other women, killing one of them. But authorities couldn't dismiss the DNA. A sample taken from Reyes matched physical evidence at the Central Park crime scene. The problem for the district attorney: That DNA was the only physical evidence of rape, but five young men had been convicted of rape and sex assault in spite of the fact their DNA did not match.

What did the five in were their confessions, in which they detailed the jogger attack and other muggings that night. In two separate trials, five then teenagers were convicted of multiple charges, including sex assault and rape.

I spoke this morning on the phone with the retired detective who led the police investigation. Burt Arroyo now lives in Florida.

Burt Arroyo, Retired Detective: "They're all guilty of everything."

Arroyo was outraged to learn the DA is now thinking of recommending the convictions for the sex charges be thrown out, as well as the other charges in connection with events that April night, based on the revelations about Matias Reyes.

Arroyo: "If the state threw out all of the convictions then it's a complete horror show. It's justice being dismantled."

Amazingly, in the 10 months that the DA has taken to reexamine the Central Park case, Arroyo says he was never contacted. Apparently, neither were crucial players from the original DA investigation.

Arroyo: "It says that it wasn't a complete and thorough investigation. I clearly says that."

Arroyo believes the motivation to overturn the convictions is political, sparked by an internal rift within the DA's office. District Attorney Robert Morganthau himself, will have nothing to say until Thursday, when his recommendation is filed in court.

The five young men all served their time for the various attacks in Central Park and were released. Matias Reyes, meanwhile, cannot be prosecuted in the central park rape because the statute of limitations has run out.

Da recommends tossing
Da to drop charges { December 4 2002 }
Dna ignored { April 19 1989 }
Failed justice system
False confessions { October 18 2002 }
Frameup of youth
Three convincted central park jogger case sue nyc { December 7 2003 }

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