Huwe Burton was wrongfully convicted in the 1989 stabbing murder of his mother, Keziah, for which he served nearly 20 years in prison. Last week, the Bronx, New York native had the crime wiped from his record
According to the New York Post, Burton, 46, and his legal team were overcome with emotion at Bronx Supreme Court as Justice Steven L. Barrett granted a motion to vacate Burton's conviction.
"It just felt like a weight was officially lifted," Burton said after being cleared of the crime.
The case was picked up by the Innocence Project, a
nonprofit legal organization committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people, which had asked the Bronx district attorney to review the case.
On the afternoon of Jan. 3, 1989, Burton, then 16, arrived at his family's Bronx home and found his mother lying in a pool of blood with a serrated knife next to her body. His father was in Jamaica at the time, and the teenager called 911.
He told authorities his mother's car was missing. Detectives coerced a confession from
Days after the incident, Emanuel Green, a tenant of the Burtons, was pulled over driving Keziah's missing car, reports CW 39. Green, who had a history of violent offenses, disclosed information during questioning only someone with knowledge of the murder would have been privy to.
Although signs pointed to the tenant, Burton was tried for the crime, and as an adult. Green died during a lover's dispute before the trial.
In 1991, Burton was convicted of second-degree murder and weapons possession. He was sentenced to 15 years-to-life and was paroled in 2009.
“Certainly, it is a tragedy that Mr. Burton spent some 20 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit,” Justice Barret said. “For this, I want to apologize to Mr. Burton for a system that failed him.”