David McCallum was 16-years-old in 1986 when a jury found him and William Stuckey Jr. guilty of kidnapping and murdering Nathan Blenner. On Wednesday, nearly thirty years into his prison sentence, he walked out a free man after a judge vacated his murder conviction at a prosecutor’s request. Stuckey, whose conviction was also tossed, died in prison in 2001.
Ken Thompson, who became the Brooklyn district attorney this past January, asked Judge Matthew D’Emic to quash the convictions after he reviewed the cases and found that both men’s confessions were false and contradicted by evidence. Thompson said “not a single piece of evidence” linked the men to the crime.
McCallum, who was seated next to Stuckey’s mother in the courtroom, began to cry as Judge D’Emic announced he and Stuckey were exonerated. Minutes later, McCallum, who had been denied parole for insisting upon his innocence, hugged his mother and walked free.
“I’m very, very happy, but very, very sad at the same time because this situation in some ways could have been avoided,” said McCallum to reporters outside of the courthouse. He said he was not bitter, but that the justice system was “broken” and that he planned to advocate against wrongful convictions.