Staten Island Judge Vacates Murder Conviction Of Grant Williams After New Evidence Uncovered In 1996
A New York City man who served 23 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit was officially cleared Thursday. CBS2‘s Alice Gainer reports.
A Staten Island man who spent time behind bars since 1997 was finally cleared Thursday after his botched murder conviction was tossed out.
Grant Williams, 50, turned and hugged his lawyers in court as state Supreme Court Justice Wayne Ozzi vacated his 1997 conviction, as supporters applauded in the courtroom.
He flashed a thumbs-up as he left the room.
“Nothing I can say can undo 25 years of that nightmare,” Ozzi told him. “I hope it is a bright future for you.”
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Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon personally apologized for the delayed justice.
Grant said he was not holding a grudge.
“I just want to say to everybody, you never know how much strength you have until it’s tested,” he said. “When you’re placed in a situation where you actually have to survive, that’s where your strength kicks in for me.
“I never lost strength,” Grant said. “I never lost faith and I want to definitely commend the new DA that stepped in and made my life different and brought me here today because I would still be sitting in a cell right now.
“I am very happy to be here today but this is the day I dreamed about,” he added. “I knew it was going to happen. I never gave up.”
Williams was charged in the April 5, 1996, shooting death of Shdell Lewis outside a Staten Island housing project and found guilty by a jury in November 1997, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
“Given the overwhelming amount of exculpatory evidence presented for the first time in this review, as well as a totality of the investigative circumstances in this case, which in several instances defy what we now accept as best practices, we now believe Mr. Williams to actually be innocent and conclude that our justice system failed him,” McMahon said in a statement Thursday.