A pair of Brooklyn men who served 22 years for murders they didn’t commit were freed last Thursday (February 6). Antonio Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson were aided by DNA evidence that proved the men had nothing to do with the triple murder they were falsely convicted for.
CNN exclusively spoke with Yarbough and Wilson last Friday (February 7), now both in their 30s, but were teenagers when they were convicted of the triple murder of Yarbough’s mother, his sister and a girl cousin. The harrowing tale of Yarbough, then 18, discovering the murder as he returned home with Wilson, then 15, from a party is disturbing.
Yarbough’s mother was found stabbed, and the two girls were strangled and partially undressed inside the Coney Island apartment. After police responded, Yarbough was ordered to the precinct where he says cops tried to get him to sign a false confession. Yarbough didn’t break under the pressure, but Wilson, afraid of the consequences, cooperated with the police in promise of a lighter sentence.
After being convicted in separate trials, Yarbough was sentenced with 75 years to life with Wilson getting nine years to life. After an aunt of Wilson wrote to him in 2005 asking if the pair truly did the crime, he finally broke and told her they had nothing to do with it. The letter made its way to lawyer Zachary Margulis-Ohuma, who consulted with the district attorney to reopen the case in 2010.
“For many years I felt horrible that I had to do that and that I actually did it knowing that we weren’t guilty for a crime we didn’t commit,” Wilson said, while next to Yarbough on CNN. “I still feel horrible now.”
The new investigation revealed that DNA found at a 1999 crime scene matched was was found at the Brooklyn home, thus exonerating the men as they were in prison at the time.
Yarbough says he holds no ill will towards Wilson, although the he expressed in a sentence what his time was like at New York’s Attica prison for all that time.
“It was a nightmare,” Yarbough said ot CNN’s Piers Morgan. “Twenty-one years and seven months was more like 42 years and seven months, when you know you’re in prison for something you didn’t do.”
Watch a video report of Antonio Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson on CNN below.