A New York man who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a Brooklyn murder that took place while he was vacationing in Florida was set free Tuesday in a highly emotional hearing.
“The day is finally here. I’ve dreamt about it many nights,” Jonathan Fleming said as he walked out of court. “I’m finally a free man.
“I feel wonderful,” Fleming said. “I’m going to have dinner with my mother and my family and I’m going to live the rest of my life.”
Evidence that was not disclosed to the defense during his trial which would have confirmed his alibi for the August 1989 slaying in a Williamsburg project was unearthed during a review of the case by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
That included a phone receipt from an Orlando hotel showing he was there just hours before the murder and a report from local police, which interviewed hotel staff who remembered him.
Both documents were found in the case file.
“It could not have possibly been a mistake,” one of Fleming’s lawyers, Taylor Koss, said of those non-disclosures by the authorities before and during his client’s trial.
The district attorney’s re-investigation also discovered police reports that confirmed a recanting witness account that cops dropped felony charges against her after she falsely identified Fleming.
A source said prosecutors are aware of a person who’s believed to be the actual killer and may now go after him.
Relatives of Fleming, including his mom and two of his four kids, filled the courtroom and erupted in applause and cries of “Thank you, God” when Justice Matthew D’Emic, Administrative Judge for Brooklyn Supreme Court, officially released him.
“I’ve waited for this so many years,” mother Patricia Fleming, 72, said through tears after she hugged her son. “I feel like a burden was lifted.”
Because documentary evidence was withheld, the prosecutor back then was able to convince a jury that Fleming who had videos and photos from the Disney vacation could have hopped on one of 53 flights, shoot dead Darryl Rush, 22, take a flight back and then return to Brooklyn again the next day.
“Today’s actions follow a careful and thorough review of this case, and based on key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder, I have decided to dismiss all charges against him in the interest of justice,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement.
Thompson has inherited a trove of questionable convictions that a revamped Conviction Review Unit is still poring over. On Tuesday, their work received praise from all sides.
“This is a glorious day,” said Fleming’s ex-wife, Valerie Brown, 46, who also testified during the 1990 trial about the Florida trip.
“Somebody heard our cries and today is a new beginning,” she said. “It’s going to be a process but we’re a strong family !!

Advertisements