Bobby Johnson Released: Innocent Man Freed After 9 Years In Prison
By Tracy Hughey | Sep 06, 2015 10:32 AM EDT
An innocent man has been released from jail after serving nine years for a crime he did not commit, according to WTNH Connecticut News. Bobby Johnson, 24, was greeted and hugged by family and friends who came to support him on Friday after he walked out a free man from the New Haven Superior Court.
“It’s crazy. I’m still trying to grasp everything now. It’s crazy. Oh man, it’s beautiful.” Johnson said.
Kenneth Rosenthal, Johnson’s lawyer, along with the Connecticut Innocence Project, spent years trying to win his freedom from the 2006 shooting death of 70-year-old Herbert Fields during an apparent robbery in New Haven. Johnson, then 16, was arrested along with a 14-year-old friend.
Rosenthal says that the New Haven police coerced a confession from Johnson who had an IQ of 69, just below the threshold of 70, which is considered mental impairment, CBS News reported, Johnson broke down sobbing as police questioned him and was promised probation if he confessed, Rosenthal said.
After Johnson pled guilty to the murder, he was sentenced to 38 years in prison, which was not the promised probation. His friend was held for 18 months and released upon his acquittal in court, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Rosenthal’s five-year battle was due to the fact that evidence shows another person to have committed Fields’ murder and committed two other similar murders in the six weeks after Johnson was convicted and in custody.
New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington and Chief State’s Attorney’s Prosecutor Timothy Sugrue filed a motion Wednesday requesting Johnson’s conviction be set aside.
Rosenthal expects Johnson to file a wrongful incarceration claim with the state, which could make Johnson a millionaire in compensation.