Central Park Five

Central Park Five

The Central Park Five were Harlem teens Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kharey Wise. Ages 14 to 16, the teens were accused of bludgeoning, raping, and leaving to die a 28-year-old female jogger in New York's Central Park. The jogger was later learned to be Trisha Meili, an investment banker at Salomon Brothers. The media called the attack a brutal "wilding" by out of control youth.

The teens had been picked up in a police sweep of the park and conveniently were already in custody when the victim was found. All the teens except Salaam confessed to the crime on videotape. The prosecution would admit 13 years later that the confessions “differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime—who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault and when the sequence of the events in the attack took place.” The victim was knocked unconscious and was not able to identify any attacker. All five were convicted at trial solely because of the confessions.

No DNA evidence tied the suspects to the crime, so the prosecution's case rested almost entirely on the confessions. [1] In fact, analysis indicated that the DNA collected at the crime scene did not match any of the suspects—and that the crime-scene DNA had all come from a single, as-yet-unknown person. [6]

In 1990, following the convictions, DNA tests on semen found inside and on the victim, showed that it not did match any of the Central Park Five. The test results received little publicity and the recovered semen was attributed to a sixth "mystery" member of the gang. In January 2002, Matias Reyes, 31, a serial rapist, confessed to committing the crime alone. DNA test results matched Reyes and the convictions of the five were vacated. The five had already served their seven to thirteen year juvenile sentences. At least three were denied parole for maintaining their innocence in the crime.


*American Justice: The Central Park Jogger
*Innocence Project: [http://innocenceproject.org/Content/252.php Salaam] , [http://innocenceproject.org/Content/243.php Richardson] , [http://innocenceproject.org/Content/208.php McCray] , [http://innocenceproject.org/Content/255.php Santana] , [http://innocenceproject.org/Content/298.php Wise]
* [http://www.law.northwestern.edu/depts/clinic/wrongful/exonerations/McCray_NY.htm Center on Wrongful Convictions]
*Connor, Tracy (October 20, 2002) "48 hours: Twisting trail to teens' confessions". " New York Daily News" [http://www.nydailynews.com/10-20-2002/news/crime_file/story/28497p-27070c.html]
*cite book| author= Timothy Sullivan| title=Unequal Verdicts: The Central Park Jogger Trials| location=New York | publisher=Simon & Schuster| year=1992| id=ISBN 0-671-74237-X
*Ryan, Nancy E. (December 5, 2002) "Affirmation in Response to Motion to Vacate Judgement of Conviction" [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/cpjoggera1.html]
*" [http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/crimelaw/features/n_7836/ Central Park Revisited] " New York Magazine.

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