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Lawyers: Evidence clears murder defendants

Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:06 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- New evidence could prove the innocence of five people convicted and imprisoned for the 1995 slaying of a New York City cab driver, lawyers said.

Six people were tried and five convicted in the shooting death of Baithe Diop, a Senegalese man who was one of several cab drivers slain in the mid-1990s. The conviction landed Cathy Watkins, Devon Ayers, Michael Cosme, Carlos Perez and Eric Glisson in prison.

Glisson sent a letter in May to John O'Malley, a federal violent crimes investigator who was once a homicide detective in the Bronx, again professing his innocence, The New York Times reported.

O'Malley said Glisson's description of the case reminded him of a confession he heard in 2003 of a similar homicide that was never tried because no records could be found of a crime matching the description. Jose Rodriguez and Gilbert Vega independently confessed to Diop's slaying, but because their stories couldn't be corroborated -- and the two didn't know Diop's name -- the two pleaded guilty to a less serious crime.

"I believe the evidence is overwhelming that Vega and Rodriguez, acting alone, robbed and shot Baithe Diop on Jan. 19, 1995, causing his death," O'Malley wrote in the affidavit.

Glisson's lawyer, Peter Cross, said his client was overjoyed when O'Malley visited him at Sing Sing prison to tell him of his findings.

Cross said Glisson told him O'Malley "outright apologized" for his imprisonment and said "We know you're innocent and we're going to do everything we can to get you out of jail."

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