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Timothy Crosby

Other New York Assault Cases

In April 1988, 16-year-old Dana Garner reported to the police in New York City that he had been kidnapped at gunpoint by a group of men.

While walking the streets in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn where Garner said the crime occurred, he identified 27-year-old Timothy Crosby as one of the men who kidnapped him. Garner also identified two other men as participating with Crosby.

The two other men pled guilty. Crosby went to trial in 1989 in Kings County Supreme Court. The two co-defendants, in exchange for more lenient sentences, testified against Crosby and implicated him in the attack.

In 1989, Crosby was convicted of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison.

On March 26, 1991, Garner was a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Jeffrey Blake, who was accused of a double murder.

The murders occurred on June 18 1990, when, according to Garner, Blake fired a machine gun into a car in Brooklyn, New York, killing the two men inside.

A few days later, Garner came forward and implicated Blake, who went to trial in Kings County Supreme Court in May 1991. The prosecution’s case relied almost solely on Garner’s testimony.

Blake claimed 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. Police testified that evidence showed that most of the bullets were fired into the driver’s side of the car, not the passenger’s side.

In May 1991, a 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 a hearing on Blake’s case, Garner invoked his privilege against self-incrimination and refused to testify. Blake’s attorney, Michelle Fox of the Legal Aid Society, then 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. The woman, who by then lived in North Carolina, said that she had not witnessed the killings. The defense also discovered evidence that Garner was not even in New York on the day of the shooting.

Since Blake had exhausted his appeals, Fox brought the case to the attention of Bob Herbert, a New York Times newspaper columnist who began writing columns about the case.

Fox then contacted the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, which agreed to reinvestigate Blake’s case. In October 1998, the District Attorney’s Office and Fox filed a joint motion to set aside Blake’s convictions. The motion was granted, the prosecution dropped the charges, and Blake was released.

Later that year, attorney Sara Bennett, Fox’s colleague at the Legal Aid Society, began reviewing Crosby’s case because of Garner’s involvement. Bennett located the two co-defendants who had testified against Crosby and both recanted, admitting they had lied. Meanwhile, Crosby took and passed a polygraph examination. Then, Garner recanted his identification of Crosby.

Bennett filed a motion to vacate Crosby’s conviction. On December 9, 1999, the motion was granted. The case was dismissed, and Crosby was released. He later received $450,000 in compensation from the New York Court of Claims.

In 2003, the murder conviction of Ruben Ortega, who had been convicted based on testimony from Garner, was vacated after Garner recanted his testimony. Subsequently, Ortega pled guilty to manslaughter prior to a retrial.

In 2002, Crosby was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was released on parole in 2021.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 9/3/2021
State:New York
Most Serious Crime:Assault
Additional Convictions:Illegal Use of a Weapon
Reported Crime Date:1988
Sentence:10 to Life
Age at the date of reported crime:27
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No