A Brooklyn man who has spent the past 29 years in prison for murder is expected to walk free on Wednesday.
David McCallum, together with co-defendant Willie Stuckey, were found guilty of kidnapping and shooting Nathan Blenner, 20, in a Bushwick park in October 1985. The two 16-year-olds were sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars the next year.
Stuckey died in prison in 2001, but McCallum has had his innocence championed by late boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who served 19 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1966.
David McCallum, who was just 16 when he was found guilty of kidnapping and shooting a man in 1985, is expected to have his conviction overturned by a New York judge today. Just two months before Carter died in April he wrote an op-ed for the New York Daily News in which he called for Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson to review McCallum’s case.
“My single regret in life is that David McCallum… is still in prison,” Carter wrote. “Knowing what I do, I am certain that when the facts are brought to light, Thompson will recommend his immediate release.”
“At no time then or since has a single piece of forensic evidence — or evidence of any kind — ever tied McCallum or Stuckey to the crime,” wrote lawyer Oscar Michelen, who has represented McCallum pro bono for the past nine years, in his letter to Thompson.
On Tuesday night, Thompson agreed that the confessions were false. “We’ve concluded that the confessions were false, and they were false in large part because these 16-year-olds were fed false facts,” he said. No other evidence tied the two to the abduction or killing.
McCallum greeted the news that he could be released as soon as Wednesday with “disbelief, combined with just utter joy” when his lawyers phoned him Tuesday in prison, Michelen said.
Prosecutors will ask Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to overturn McCallum’s and Stuckey’s convictions. Their cases were reviewed by the Brooklyn DA’s conviction-review unit, which has already overturned eight murder cases since Thompson took office in January.
Carter was wrongly convicted and locked up for 19 years for a triple murder in New Jersey, a legal battle that inspired the Bob Dylan song Hurricane and a Denzel Washington movie.
After being freed he became involved with advocating for other victims of injustice and first got involved with McCallum’s case in 2004. McCallum’s case has also been the subject of the documentary David & Me by filmmaker Ray Klonsky, which debuted in June.
article by David McCormack via dailymail.co.uk