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Jeffrey Blake

Other Brooklyn Murder Exonerations
In June 1990, a man fired a machine gun into a car in Brooklyn, New York, killing the two men inside, 24-year-old Everton Denny and 19-year-old Kenneth Felix. 
A few days later, Dana Garner came forward, saying he saw Jeffrey Blake fire into the passenger side of the car. 
Blake said he was on his lunch break at the time of the shootings.  His sister testified that he ate lunch at her apartment, and co-workers testified that he returned to work at 2 p.m., only 15 minutes after the shooting.  Forensic evidence indicated that most of the bullets were fired into the driver’s side of the car, not the passenger’s side. 
The prosecution’s case relied heavily on Garner’s testimony.

Blake's criminal defense counsel, Howard Kirsch told the jury in closing argument that Garner was a liar. Kirsch said Garner was an admitted drug dealer who had been arrested and convicted in North Carolina several times, that he was a convicted felon who was serving time in prison in North Carolina, and that he had gone to a mental institution for an evaluation to see if he was telling the truth.

In May 1991, tje jury convicted Blake of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.  He was sentenced to 36-years-to-life in prison. 
In 1993, Garner recanted his testimony to defense investigators. Later, as a witness at Blake’s appeal, he invoked his privilege against self incrimination and refused to testify.  Defense investigators tracked down the woman who had been Garner’s girlfriend at the time of the crime and who he claimed had also witnessed the shootings.  She swore that she had not witnessed the killings. The defense discovered evidence that Garner was not even in New York on the day of the shooting.
Blake had exhausted his appeals, so his attorney contacted the District Attorney’s Office, which agreed to reinvestigate Blake’s case. In October 1998, the District Attorney’s Office joined in a motion filed by Blake’s attorney to set aside the conviction.  The motion was granted, and the prosecution dropped the charges.

Two other cases in Brooklyn were subsequently set aside after Garner admitted he had testified falsely. In 1999, the convictions of Timothy Crosby for assault and criminal possession of a weapon were vacated, the charges were dismissed and he was released. In 2003, Ruben Ortega's murder conviction was vacated. Ortega pled guilty and was released.
Blake filed a federal wrongful conviction lawsuit and during Garner's deposition, he testified that police fed him details of the double murder and pressured him to implicate Blake. Garner also testified that when he viewed a lineup, police directed him to Blake so he could pick him out. The lawsuit was settled in 2007 for $1.2 million. Blake also received $1.25 million in compensation from the State of New York.

Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 9/5/2022
State:New York
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1990
Sentence:36 to Life
Age at the date of reported crime:21
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No