John Bunn broke down and wept as he clutched the hands of the judge who exonerated him, after he spent 17 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit and 10 more years on parole. Bunn who is now 41 years old, was 14 years old when he was charged with second-degree murder for the death of an off-duty correction officer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 1991.
Bunn, and another teen, Rosean Hargrave, were accused of shooting Rolando Neischer and his partner Robert Crosson in August 1991 while sitting in a car at a Brooklyn housing project. While Crosson survived the shooting, his partner unfortunately passed away.
Two bicycles were found at the scene along with multiple fingerprints and blood, but they did not match Bunn or his co-defendant, Hargrove.
Bunn’s murder conviction was tossed out in 2016 by Judge Shawndya Simpson after it was revealed that the lead detective on the case, retired NYPD Det. Louis Scarcella, was responsible for witness tampering and mishandling of evidence in a number of cases.
After the judge announced that Bunn had been exonerated, he approached the bench and clutched her hands. As the courtroom erupted in applause, Bunn bowed his head and wept. “I want to say thank you your honor because it’s been 27 years I’ve been fighting for my life,” an emotional Bunn said as tears streamed down his face.
“I didn’t deserve any of that stuff that you all did to me. 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. You all convicted and had a wrong man in prison, and you all still have somebody on the loose that killed someone.” Bunn told prosecutors, per CNN.
Hargrave who was 16 when he was convicted, was also exonerated in the decades-old crime. Appearing in a Brooklyn Supreme Court, the now 44-year-old was told by the judge that his murder conviction was tossed out.