“God sees the truth but waits.”
This old adage, which happened to be title of one of Leo Tolstoy’s greatest literary masterpiece, speaks a volume of truth in the case of John Bunn. Like Aksionov in Tolstoy’s story, he was wrongfully accused and convicted of murder when he was only 14 years old. The innocent man was imprisoned and spent 17 years of his life behind the bars for a hideous crime he did not commit. Justice was broken and not served in Bunn’s case, according to Judge ShawnDya Simpson.
In the early morning of August 13, 1991, two of Rikers Island’s correction officers were shot while they were sitting inside a car. According to police reports, the two suspects intended to steal the car of the correction officers.
The police investigating the murder of the an officer, and an attempted murder of another officer, were given an anonymous tip that led to Bunn and his co-defendant, Roseann Hargrove, who was only 17 years old at the time when the crime happened.
Crosson, the officer who survived the gun shots, positively identified the two minors on the trial that lasted only for a day.
The two minors were charged with murder despite the fact that the bloodied fingerprints found on the two bicycles near the crime scene, did not match theirs.
“In one day they picked a jury, they had openings, they had witnesses, and a conclusion on a murder trial which I do not consider justice at all,” Judge Shawndya Simpson said.
The injustice in John and his co-defendant’s first trial was allegedly due to the incompetence of a former New York Police Department Detective. The former detective was accused of framing suspects when he was still practicing his career.
“It has been 27 years, I’ve been fighting for my life and I’ve been fighting for my innocence.” John Bunn who spent 17 years of his life in prison said.
Although the innocent man has been living as a free man since year 2009 due to a parole, John Bunn won the right to a new trial to prove his innocence on 2016. prosecutors said they will not re-trial Bunn and his co-defendant, leading to their full exoneration.
A tearful John Bunn cannot help but be overwhelmed with emotion upon knowing that he has been granted full exoneration. He has been acquitted and declared innocent from the crime he was wrongfully accused of. At the age of 41 years old, John Bunn is now officially a free man.
According to Glenn Garber, the director of The Exoneration Initiative, it would have been better if the prosecutors and police who made a mistake would apologize to John. “It would be nice to have that stated to him so that he could really feel fully vindicated, but we don’t have that and it is unfortunate they didn’t go there,”
“They won’t admit and say that I’m an innocent man. But I’m an innocent man, your honor, and I have always been an innocent man.” John reiterated his innocence numerous times to the honorable judge.
John’s wrong conviction and long years spent in prison, fortunately, was not wasted in vain. John Bunn was able to accomplish and achieve productive activities inside the correctional facility. It is in the prison where he was able to teach himself how to read.
And in the subsequent years since he was freed, the innocent man was able to collect more than 20,000 books for the benefit of the New York inmates.
John was able to put up a literacy project last year which is called as “A Voice 4 the Unheard” literacy project. ”
“I just feel overly blessed and thanking God that we reached this point.” John Bunn told the reporters outside the court, grateful for his full exoneration.