In this touching story, an innocent man accused of killing a woman has finally regained his freedom after the sole witness confessed she lied 14 years ago.
Tullie (Birdie) Hyman was found guilty and sentenced to 21 years to life in prison
The New York Daily News has reported a shocking story of a man jailed for murder 14 years ago about to walk free after the sole witness in the murder case confessed to lying to the police.
A federal judge has thrown out the murder conviction of a Queens man imprisoned since 2002 for killing a tenant patrol leader in a fusillade of gunfire at a Far Rockaway housing project.
Tullie (Birdie) Hyman must be released from state prison within 90 days unless the Queens district attorney’s office decides to retry him for the murder of Maria Medina, who was hit by a stray bullet.
Hyman has maintained that he is innocent and that he was falsely implicated in the shooting by witness Shaquana Ellis, who has since recanted her trial testimony.
“Until today, the criminal justice system has failed Tullie and his family,” said his appeals lawyer Mark DeMarco. Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie ruled Wednesday that it’s clear that Ellis did not witness the shooting.
Hyman’s former lawyer had hired a private eye who determined it was impossible for Ellis to have seen what she claimed from the vantage point of a third-floor window, but the investigator did not testify at Hyman’s trial due to a fee dispute.
“This case rises or falls with (Ellis’) testimony and the loss of her credibility necessarily undermines the verdict,”Dearie wrote in a 91-page decision.
A spokesman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the judge’s decision is being reviewed.
Hyman is serving 21 years to life for the murder.
Ellis testified at a hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court last December that she was threatened at gunpoint to finger Hyman as the shooter, but she could not identify who made the threat because she claimed he was wearing a bandana across his face.
“That night, me walking home, my life and my family’s life was threatened. I had no choice,” she testified.
The gunman “said if I didn’t point Tullie out (to the police) they were gonna come and kill me and my family.”
She said she came forward because “I’ve been living with this lie for years, and I want the truth to be told.”