In December 1991, two victims were approached by three men with guns who robbed them in Queens, New York. A fourth man was waiting in a getaway car. Gerald Harris was arrested a month later after he was seen riding in a car that resembled the getaway car. Both victims identified Harris in a lineup. In November 1992, a jury convicted Harris of armed robbery. Before sentencing, Harris’s brother, who resembled him, tried to confess in court that he was the actual robber, but was prevented from doing so at that time because the district attorney wasn’t present. Harris’s brother left for South Carolina without making a public confession, and Harris was sentenced to 9 to 18 years in prison.
Harris’s former boxing trainer was convinced of his innocence and his advocacy led to the reopening of Harris’s case. Harris’s brother eventually did confess to the authorities, and the others involved in the robbery confirmed that Harris had nothing to do with it. The district attorney supported Harris’s motion to vacate his conviction, and then dismissed the charges in December 2000.
- Stephanie Denzel