Touching moment man wrongly convicted of murder as 14-year-old weeps in front of the judge who exonerated him after 27 years
After the judge in the court announced that Bunn had been exonerated, he approached the bench and held her hands and wept as the courtroom applauded.
John Bunn was 14-years-old when he was charged with second-degree murder and now at the age of 41 he has finally been exonerated of the charges. Bunn, on Tuesday, sobbed in the courtroom and clutched the hands of the judge who absolved him after he spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Reports state that Bunn and another teenager named Rosean Hargrave, in 1991, were accused of forcing an off-duty correction officer Rolando Neischer and his partner Robert Crosson out of their car, shooting them and then stealing the vehicle in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Neischer died, while the other officer, Crosson, survived and became the sole witness of the incident.
John Bunn was 14 when he was jailed for 17 years on a second-degree murder charge. On Tuesday, there was barely a dry eye in a #Brooklyn courtroom as he was fully exonerated. https://t.co/oqQRFS0XDG pic.twitter.com/sZghXxE45e— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) May 16, 2018
Bunn's murder conviction was disposed of in 2016, after it was found out that Louis Scarcella, the lead detective on his case, used "false and misleading practices" while he was with the New York Police Department (NYPD).
According to reports, the teenagers, at the time, were convicted based on tainted evidence produced by Scarcella and that he had placed their pictures in a photo array for Crosson. An emotional Bunn, after he was exonerated of the charges on Tuesday, said: "I want to say thank you your honor because it's been 27 years I've been fighting for my life."
"I want y'all to know that y'all convicted and had the wrong man in prison,' he said with tears streaming down his face.
WATCH: John Bunn, wrongfully jailed at 14 in the 1991 murder of a correction officer, cries as he is exonerated. pic.twitter.com/EU9KmlPOCL— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 16, 2018
After the judge in the court announced that Bunn had been exonerated, he approached the bench and held her hands as the courtroom applauded and Bunn bowed his head down and wept, according to reports.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice ShawnDya Simpson said: "I am more than emotional about this day. You were 14 at the time. This shouldn't have ever happened," the Daily News reported.
Bunn, while talking to the reporters outside the room, said that he felt "blessed" and was "just thanking God I reached this point."
You know how evil you have to be to frame a 14 year old for murder. But we are supposed to trust the justice system. Guy spent 17 years in jail for a murder he didn't commit and this cop is walking free chilling in retirement https://t.co/ub3PTJZ73W— Robert Littal (@BSO) May 16, 2018
After Bunn's exoneration, his legal team said that there were issues with his case from the beginning and that the fingerprints found at the scene did not belong to either of the teenagers. Crosson, the other officer at the time of the incident, had described the suspects as light-skinned men in their 20s, reports state.
Defense lawyers said that the teenagers were framed and contrary to Crosson's description of the suspects, Bunn and Hargrave were dark-skinned teenagers.
Defense lawyer Glenn Garber said: "There were problems with this case that were very obvious. There was no probable cause to make an arrest."
One of my greatest life accomplishments will have been helping get justice for this man. Congrats, John Bunn!— Frances Robles (@FrancesRobles) May 15, 2018
Bunn, who was released from prison on parole in 2009, reportedly went on to create a nonprofit organization known as A Voice4TheUnheard.
"Y'all had the wrong man this whole time and you have someone out there running free and y'all had no right to do what you did. I don't know how I made it this far, but I believe I am here for a purpose. I just want to be proven innocent...I didn't want to be in the dark side of the shadows they (the prosecutors) tried to put me," Bunn said during the hearing.
Reports state that Hargrave was also exonerated in the crime after he appeared in a Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday. The judge reportedly told the 44-year-old that his murder conviction had been tossed out. Hargrave was 16 at the time of the conviction and was in prison for 24 years.
The release of Rosean Hargrave and John Bunn, who served 24 years in prison for a crime they did not commit, further underscores the need for an independent statewide #wrongfulconviction commission. My call remains for total accountability and #justice. https://t.co/A8rFUztlJk— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) May 15, 2018
"There were times I saw death - that is how badly corrections officers beat me for a crime I did not commit," he said outside the courtroom, according to the New York Post.