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A Sixth Teen Co-Defendant In The Central Park Jogger Case Is Exonerated

A sixth man, who was simply convicted alongside five other Black and Hispanic teenagers for the 1989 rape of a jogger whose convictions were trashed greater than a decade later, also had his conviction on a related charge overturned Monday.

AP News reports Steven Lopez was exonerated in reaction to requests by both Lopezs attorney and prosecutors at a court hearing in Manhattan.

Cops arrested 15-year-old Lopez alongside five other Black and Latino teenagers in the rape and assault of 28-year-old jogger Trisha Meili. The teen previously reached a cope with prosecutors, pleading guilty to the lesser charge. He and many others were accused of mugging a male jogger on a single night. Lopez served a lot more than 3 years behind bars before released in the first 1990s.

Lopez, who’s now 48, didnt provide a statement in court and left without talking with reporters. His lawyer, Eric Shapiro Renfroe, said that his client wanted privacy at the moment.

USA APRIL 22: Steven Lopez a defendant in the Central Park jogger case. (Photo by Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Prosecutor Concluded Teens Confession Was Flawed

Trisha Meili was in a coma for 12 days following the attack which resulted in the conviction of Lopez and five other kids. Her assault happened on a night when other people have been attacked in the park by sets of youths. The victims didn’t specifically identify the teens as their assailants.

Five teenagers convicted served six to 13 years in prison. Their convictions were trashed in 2002 after evidence linked a convicted serial rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, to the attack. Reyes confessed to investigators he alone have been in charge of Meilis assault.

Through the hearing, the defense attorney told his client:

I really believe what happened for you was a profound injustice and an American tragedy. Im pleased to be here today with DA Bragg so we are able to offer you your name back.

Prosecutors in Lopezs case concluded the teenagers confessions, made after hours of interrogations, were deeply flawed. Prosecutors said on Monday that statements implicating Lopez in the violence that night also were unreliable.

An assessment of the statements reveals troubling discrepancies, they wrote in court papers at that time. The accounts distributed by the five defendants differed in one another on the precise details of just about any major facet of the crime.

The five other teens who have been associated with Lopez in the jogger attacks later recanted their allegations within their civil depositions. The Central Park Five, now sometimes referred to as the Exonerated Five, continued to win a $40 million settlement from the town. Their stories have since been depicted in books, television, and movies.

Lopez have not received funds.

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