After serving 26 years on a murder charge, Brooklyn man exonerated

October 3, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Brooklyn Supreme Court. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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A Brooklyn man imprisoned for murder since 1993 was exonerated Thursday by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit after a lengthy investigation into the decades-old case against him.

Carlos Weeks was arrested at age 20 and charged with murder and assault for a 1993 killing at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Tompkins Houses. The charge was based on unreliable eyewitness testimony from two sisters who claimed to have identified him during the shooting from their 12th-floor window in a nearby building. One of the sisters recanted her testimony to the CRU, and the other declined to speak with investigators, except to say she did not remember the events.

“For 26 years, Carlos Weeks fought to have this wrongful conviction overturned. Today, he walks out of court a free man,” said Elizabeth Felber, who heads the new Wrongful Conviction Unit at the Legal Aid Society, which worked on Weeks’ defense alongside his lawyers at law firm Davis Polk.

The three-person unit at the Legal Aid Society investigates the claims of incarcerated New Yorkers that they have been wrongly convicted and — in Brooklyn — presents evidence of their findings to the CRU.

“An extensive investigation into this old case revealed that the two witnesses who identified Mr. Weeks as the shooter were not credible,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “Accordingly, we cannot stand by this conviction and will release the defendant, who spent 26 years behind bars.”

“Carlos’ case underscores the need for district attorneys’ offices to have robust wrongful conviction review units that can review cases expeditiously to correct injustices,” Felber said. “This is a happy day for Carlos and his family — a long time in coming — but we have other clients with matters pending before the CRU, and we urge that office to investigate those matters promptly so that other wrongfully convicted individuals can experience the vindication that Carlos has experienced today.”

Brooklyn has the city’s most active Conviction Review Unit, exonerating 26 men and women since it was founded by former DA Ken Thompson in 2014.

Weeks appeared in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo in Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday afternoon, where his conviction was officially vacated.

The shooting Weeks was accused of was widely covered in 1993. Frank Davis, the 18-year-old man Weeks was accused of killing, was the third child of a Brooklyn woman shot and killed on one block on Throop Avenue street in a six-year span, according to a 1993 article by The New York Times.

Police recovered shell casings from three different guns at the crimes scene, according to the Brooklyn DA.

Davis was accompanied by another man named Dwight Boone, who returned fire at the people who shot at them.

Boone’s bullet struck a 10-year-old girl in the cheek, according to the Times.

Update (4:45 p.m.): This story was updated with new information after Weeks’ court appearance.  

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