We all fear being accused of a crime that we did not commit, but a man, Keith Bush, was imprisoned for 33 years of his life for ALLEGEDLY and APPARENTLY murdering a girl but he says that he was forced to confess to this crime. It was only on Wednesday, 12th June that he was exonerated, a shocking 4 decades later after his first arrest in 1976.
Keith was arrested in 1975 at a young age of just 17 after he was indicted with the murder of a teenager, Sherese Watson. Her body was discovered at a vacant space, sexually abused, and strangled. It was four days after this discovery that Bush was arrested. He insists that he was forcefully made to sign a confession and the jury chose to believe it. He did insist that it was under coercion though.
The victim, Sherene Watson was apparently seen leaving the party at Bellport with Bush and another witness. However, the witness recanted this testimony 5 years later. She said that she did not even attend the party. But no new trial was held.
In the year 2006, Adele Bernhard, a lawyer at Pace Law School, received a letter from Mr. Bush. He had sent similar pleads to several other lawyers. Fortunately enough, Ms. Bernhard was immediately interested in the case.
As per Bernhard, the case was inconsistent internally. More so, the statement which Mr. Bush had signed did not bear resemblance with the forensic evidence regarding the girl’s death.
Bernhard also found that DNA samples which were found in the fingernails of the victim were also different from Mr. Bush’s prison samples which prompted her to re-interview the witness with the recanted testimony.
However, her motion to vacate the conviction was denied in 2008 by a judge. The requests she placed for further testing on crime-scene proof and clothes were also turned down.
This did not dissuade Ms. Bernhard though. She kept going back to the key witnesses, examined fiber evidence, researched on the detectives and poured herself onto the confession. Bernhard also put in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in order to obtain further records pertaining to the case. Upon inspection of the records, she found out that there was another young individual who was a suspect, John W Jones Jr. Mr. Jones had apparently stumbled onto Ms. Watson’s mortal remains in the vacant lot when he had left the party inebriated. However, Mr. Jones passed away before this revelation.
The defense lawyer for Mr. Bush’s 1976 trial was never informed about the statement of Mr. Jones, which violates evidence rules. Ms. Bernhard took up all the evidence she had gathered to Tim Sini who was just elected District Attorney. Mr. Sini appeared in front of the court personally to request the judge to vacate the conviction. According to him, the prosecutors were clearly embroiled in a cover-up and the existence of the alternate accused should have been revealed. The office of Tim Sini also reviewed the case for nine months, which brought up additional issues.
The main witness had withdrawn her testimony, forensic evidence did not match how Bush described the crime in the confession, and the detectives involved in the case did not have good records.
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As per Sini, the facts brought up a simple conclusion. John Jones should have been considered the primary suspect and a fair trial was not given to Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush was made to register in the sex offender registry and released with parole in the year 2007, just a while before he turned 50.
He served a one-year term in 2013 for violating his parole which prohibited him from using computers with access to the internet. He is engaged now and works as a trailer loader operator.
Mr. Bush intends to absolutely clear his name and believes that love is the greatest outlet of releasing anger. This case serves as a remarkable example of how unfair our society used to be. It also shows us the progress, albeit not enough that we have made.