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Innocent Man Released After 20 Years In Jail

In 1996, Richard Rosario was considered a suspect in Jorge Collazo's death in New York City. He gave police a list of 13 people who could confirm that he was in Florida at the time. Yet, without any forensic or physical evidence tying Rosario to the crime, two witnesses picked him out. He was then found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life. He was 20 at the time.

Then, on Wednesday, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Torres released Torres after the district attorney found he did not receive a fair trial. Torres also overturned his murder conviction.

The father-of-two, now 40, said "I've been in prison for 20 years for a crime I didn't commit. My family didn't deserve this. I didn't deserve this, and nor did the family of the victim." Glenn Garber of the Exoneration Initiative said, "It really is a case study in a wrongful conviction. Be he hung in there...and finally he's getting some level of justice."

In addition, Rosario previously told Dateline, "I still don't understand what I'm doing in prison. I'm innocent." Rosario was staying with friends in Deltona, Florida when his mother told him the NYPD was looking for him. That's when he returned to New York.

He said, "I didn't expect to be in jail for another day. I figure they'd make a few calls and I'd be released that evening." According to Rosario's current lawyers, police didn't contact the alibi witnesses. His first attorney got a judge to pay to send a private investigator to Florida who later admitted she never did it.

Photo: SF Chronicle

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