Brooklynite Jonathan Fleming, 51, served 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit and today (April 9) has been freed, thanks to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Circa August 1989, Fleming was sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars after being convicted of slaying Darryl Rush, 22, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Despite Fleming’s plea of innocence (insisted that he was in Orlando, FL at the time of the murder) and concrete evidence (plane tickets and video footage) prosecutors claimed that Fleming easily could have flown back to commit the murder.
That argument along with a testimony from an alleged crack addict (Jacqueline Belardo), was unjustifiably enough for the jury to convict Fleming. Belardo later confessed that she was pressured to testify in order to seal a deal with the prosecutors.
Thanks to new Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and his Conviction Review Unit, it’s been determined that Belardo pinned Fleming as Rush’s killer two hours after being arrested for grand larceny (a case where the charges were “suspiciously” dismissed). Thompson’s unit also discovered a receipt from an Orlando Quality Inn, which indicated Fleming was still in the sunshine state less than five hours prior to Rush’s murder. Not to mention, employees indeed recalled seeing Fleming frolicking at the resort.
Fleming’s charges being dismissed today, according to Thompson. Upon his release, Fleming told reporters he “knew this day would come.” He then spoke of his plans to eat dinner with his mom and family, then move on with his life. We’d like to add “sue for wrongful imprisonment” to Fleming’s list of items. But in any case, we extend our most sincere congratulations to Fleming and hope that he finds peace and a sense of willpower in his new life.