David Saraceno

In August 1994, a fleet of buses in Haddam, Connecticut was set on fire, causing over $500,000 in damage.  Police suspected arson and questioned 18-year-old David Saraceno, who had a record for teenage vandalism and arson.  After a ten hour interrogation, Saraceno confessed to the crime.  He quickly recanted, saying police threatened him, and he only confessed to make the police stop the interrogation.  Saraceno’s attorney filed a motion to suppress the confession, which he initially won.  However, prosecutors appealed the suppression, and the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the confession was admissible.  In June 1998, a jury convicted Saraceno of arson.  Before Saraceno was sentenced, however, his attorney obtained new evidence that two other men were the actual arsonists.  Saraceno’s attorney presented the court with a sworn affidavit from one of the arsonists implicating himself and three others, but not Saraceno, in the fire.  Prosecutors joined the defense in seeking a reversal of Saraceno’s conviction, and his conviction was vacated in 1999.  In a plea agreement with the prosecution, however, Saraceno pled guilty to obstructing justice for giving a false confession, and was given a 5 year suspended sentence.  The real arsonists were never charged, because the five year statute of limitations had passed.

Report an error or add more information about this case.


Most Serious Crime:Arson
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1994
Sentence:Not sentenced
Contributing Factors:False Confession
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No