Jeffrey Mark Deskovic
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Jeffrey Mark Deskovic (born October 27, 1973) was wrongly convicted in 1990 at the age of seventeen of raping, beating, and strangling Angela Correa, a 15-year-old high school classmate at Peekskill High School.
The crime occurred on November 15, 1989 in Peekskill, New York. Correa had gone out with a portable cassette player and a camera for her photography class. Her body was found two days later. Although Correa and Deskovic were not close friends and Deskovic was not popular in school, Correa had been one of the few students that had been nice to him, even helping him with algebra. Deskovic has explained that this was the reason he had cried so much during Correa's funeral. The police, however, thought Deskovic was showing suspicious behavior. After his release from prison Deskovic explained he fabricated a story based on crime scene information police officers had fed to him during the course of the interrogation.
Deskovic also stated: "By the police officer's own testimony, by the end of the interrogation I was on the floor crying uncontrollably in what they described as a fetal position".
On December 7, 1990 a jury convicted Deskovic based on testimony from Peekskill police detective Daniel Stephens that Deskovic had confessed to the crime. Deskovic proclaimed his innocence on numerous occasions after his conviction, but was repeatedly denied a reopening of the case by then district attorney Jeanine Pirro. Since at least 2000 Deskovic also appealed to D.A. Pirro to run DNA testing to help prove his innocence. Pirro declined to run any DNA tests that could help release Deskovic from prison.
In 2006, the new district attorney, Janet DiFiore, authorized a DNA test which led to Deskovic's exoneration. The DNA from the crime scene was matched to that of Steven Cunningham, another prison inmate who was serving a life term for another murder and later confessed to the Correa murder. Deskovic's conviction was overturned and he was released.
Jeffrey Deskovic is now an advocate for reform of the criminal justice system and works to educate the public through his public speaking, published articles, and The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice. A year into his sentence, he converted to Islam.
In October 2014 Deskovic won a $41.6 million lawsuit for his sixteen years of wrongful imprisonment.
- Santos, Fernanda. "DNA Evidence Frees a Man Imprisoned For Half His Life". Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Fernanda Santos (21 September 2006). "DNA Evidence Frees a Man Imprisoned for Half His Life". The New York Times.