A Bronx man who was convicted of murder and spent 20 years in prison will now have his sentence vacated after the district attorney said he did not receive a fair trial.
District Attorney Darcel D. Clark on Wednesday planned to vacate Richard Rosario’s conviction for the 1996 murder of Bronx teen Jorge L. Collazo, II, who was 17 when he was killed, the DA’s office reported.
“Imprisoned for half his life, Mr. Rosario was convicted at a trial where he had ineffective counsel, and several alibi witnesses were never interviewed by his attorney,” DA Clark said in a statement. “The charges against Mr. Rosario will remain open while we complete the alibi witnesses interviews and reinvestigate the case in order to decide whether to retry Mr. Rosario.”
Rosario, convicted in 1998, has long claimed that he was in Deltona, Florida, at the time of the killing and that he could provide nine witnesses who saw him there, but they were never interviewed, the district attorney stated.
“It really is a case study in a wrongful conviction,” Rosario lawyer Glenn Garber of the Exoneration Initiative said to CBS2. “But he hung in there … and finally he’s getting some level of justice.”
Rosario, originally sentenced to 25 years to life, lost a 2004 challenge to his conviction at the state level and has also seen various federal courts uphold the conviction, according to the DA’s statement.
“We will continue to investigate the murder… so that his family might have closure,” District Attorney Clark said.