Like Out of a Movie, 2 Imprisoned Albany Men Cleared of ’97 Murder
Carl H. Dukes and Lavelle Jones have been in prison just shy of 19 years for the murder of Albany man, Erik Mitchell. Today, they have been cleared of the crime and another man has confessed.
It's February 18th, 1997 and police have been called to the apartment of Erik Mitchell, 23 of Clinton Avenue in Albany. He's found dead.
What happens after this is a series of events that has left two men behind bars and the family of Carl H. Dukes infuriated with police.
As Jones' lawyer, Rebecca Freedman (let that last name sink in), has said "The conviction was based on extremely weak evidence of guilt. It was only the confession from Lavelle, which was false. It was obtained after 36 hours or so of police questioning after he maintained his innocence for most of that time and it was definitely under duress. So we believe that it goes to show how dangerous false confessions are."
David Rossi, Chief Assistant District Attorney says that Albany police conducted an extensive re-investigation once they learned that in September of 2014 an arrest was made in Ohio, followed by a confession to the Albany murder. The man, Jeffrey J. Conrad made the confession giving details only previously known by the police to solidify it's truth.
With this news, Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin has tossed the convictions of Jones and Duke.
Dukes sister, Tyhisha Dukes spoke with the Times Union about the recent findings, saying:
"I'm just happy that my brother is exonerated today. I'm disgusted with the justice system. It's a lot of injustice and it's not fair. You give someone back some time, you say, 'OK, you're released.' But what happens to his life? Mentally, he has to readjust. Mentally, the family has to readjust. You've taken him away from his family. He's missed out on family. There's relatives that are dead that he can never see, hug or touch or they cannot ever see, hug or touch him as a free man. So it's a travesty. I hope that they fix things and find out who else Mr. Conrad murdered and who else is sitting in prison for the crimes that he committed.