Fernando Bermudez, sent away for 23-to-life in 1991 for shooting 16-year-old Raymond Blount, has had his conviction overturned by a Manhattan judge after witnesses recanted their testimony.
Back in ’91, witnesses to the fatal shooting near Union Square were shown a photo (pictured) of Bermudez, 22 at the time, and were allowed to confer about the photo before making their identification from it. Bermudez was tried and convicted mainly on their testimony, there being no conclusive physical evidence tying him to the crime.
Bermudez has long maintained his innocence and gained support in his quest for a new hearing from volunteers and the Innocence Project. Over time witnesses began to recant and in August a new hearing was called, at which witnesses appeared to assert that Bermudez was not the shooter.
This morning the judge acknowledged the deficits in the case and overturned Bermudez’ conviction, to the evident joy of himself, his family (including his wife, whom he married while in prison, and his three children and friends. He remains in prison, though, to serve a 27-month federal sentence on a drug bust made before the murder.