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.

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State:Connecticut
County:Middlesex
Most Serious Crime:Arson
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1994
Convicted:1998
Exonerated:1999
Sentence:Not sentenced
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age:18
Contributing Factors:False Confession
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No