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Raymond Santana

Other New York False Confession Cases
On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old jogger was brutally attacked and raped in Central Park. She was found unconscious with her skull fractured, her body temperature at 84 degrees, and 75 percent of her blood drained from her body. When she recovered, she had no memory of the assault. Initial police investigations quickly focused on a group of African American and Latino youths who were in police custody for a series of other attacks perpetrated in the park that night.
The Confessions
After prolonged periods of police interrogation, five teenagers - Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise - confessed to being involved in the attacks. At the time, the defendants were between 14 and 16 years old. Richardson, McCray, Sanatana, and Wise all gave videotaped confessions.
The confessions were presented as evidence though they differed in the time, location, and participants of the rape. At trial, the prosecutors also presented forensic evidence. A forensic analyst testified that a hair found on the victim was “similar” to Richardson’s hair “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.” Also presented as evidence was a rock found near the scene of the crime that had blood and hair on it that was believed to have come from the victim.
The following year, all five teenagers were convicted, in two separate trials, of charges stemming from the attack. Santana was tried as a juvenile and convicted of rape and assault. He was sentenced to five to ten years.
In early 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist, admitted that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. Reyes had already committed another rape near Central Park days earlier in 1989, attacking the victim in the same manner. The victim of that rape had described the rapist as having fresh stitches in his chin and an investigator quickly linked Reyes to this description. Although the police had Reyes’s name on file, they failed to connect Reyes to the rape and assault of the Central Park jogger.
The Exonerations
Eventually, the evidence from the crime was subjected to DNA testing. The DNA profile obtained from the spermatozoa found in the rape kit matched the profile of Reyes. Mitochondrial DNA testing on the hairs found on one of the defendants revealed that the hairs were not related to the victim or the crime. Further testing on hairs found on the victim also matched Reyes. Neither blood nor the hair found on the rock matched the victim. The evidence corroborated Reyes’s confession to the crime and was consistent with the other crimes committed by Reyes. He was sentenced to life in prison for those crimes.
On December 19, 2002, on the recommendation of the Manhattan District Attorney, the convictions of the five men were overturned. Raymond Santana spent five years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The investigation of the convictions of these five teenagers raised questions regarding police coercion and false confessions, as well as, the vulnerability of juveniles during police interrogations. 

In September 2014, a U.S. District Court judge approved a settlement between New York City and the five men for a total of $41 million dollars. Santana was slated to receive $7.125 million of the total. In December 2014, all five men filed a $52 million claim with the New York Court of Claims.
Summary courtesy of the Innocence Project, Reproduced with permission.

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 12/8/2014
State:New York
County:New York
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1989
Sentence:5 to 10 years
Age at the date of reported crime:14
Contributing Factors:False Confession, False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes