The Ballad of Donovan Drayton

He spent five years in jail awaiting trial. Call it justice, Queens-style.

"What I don't understand is that it had to have crossed [Clark's] mind at some point that 'maybe this kid didn't do it,'" says Drayton. "'He's fighting like he didn't do it.'"

Drayton wept and embraced his father. The strain in Ronny Drayton's face finally dissipated.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 18, but given all that time in jail, it's unlikely Donovan will serve more.

Donovan and Ronny Drayton on the stoop outside their Queens home
By Caleb Ferguson
Donovan and Ronny Drayton on the stoop outside their Queens home
Dwight Bent was fatally shot outside this home in Jamaica, Queens.
By Caleb Ferguson
Dwight Bent was fatally shot outside this home in Jamaica, Queens.

His life has turned back to the future. He finally got his high school diploma, and is trying restart the music career that was interrupted on a dry, overcast day in 2007.

A couple of clarifications:

We wanted to note the full sequence of how Matias Reyes came to confess to the Central Park jogger attack. Reyes first spoke to a minister and a chaplain in prison. He then spoke to a correction officer, who notified the inspector general of the state prison system. The IG then interviewed Reyes and tape-recorded him. That tape was turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which then conducted its own investigation.

Attorney Michael Warren became involved a few months later when relatives of three of the five wrongly convicted men retained him. He and his wife, also a lawyer, spent two days with Reyes and obtained an affidavit which became key in exonerating the Central Park Five.

Warren also asked us to clarify one of his comments related to the relationship between the Queens District Attorney and judges in Queens County. "For the most part, the DA controls a lot of the judges, but there are some judges who are very fair," he said. "I didn't mean to imply that all of the judges in Queens are intimidated."

grayman@villagevoice.com

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