A Bronx man who spent almost 20 years behind bars and nearly another decade on parole after he was found guilty of murdering his mother is suing the city over the wrongful conviction.
Huwe Burton’s conviction was vacated and his case was dismissed last year after prosecutors and the Innocence Project determined that his teenage confession was coerced following his mother’s stabbing death in 1989.
“This miscarriage of justice was the direct result of egregious misconduct by the NYPD detectives who investigated Keziah Burton’s murder and the prosecution that covered up the detectives' misconduct and persisted in a malicious prosecution,” said the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.
Burton’s lawsuit targets the city, the NYPD, and several detectives and prosecutors who brought the case against him.
Burton, in the lawsuit, says his rights were violated by police and prosecutors who were hellbent on putting him behind bars.
Burton pins the murder on the late Emanuel Green, a tenant with a violent criminal history and psychiatric diagnoses who moved into the apartment below the Burton family. Green was on parole at the time of the murder, and was caught driving the victim’s stolen car a week later.
According to the lawsuit, Green and his wife, Stacey, conspired with the NYPD detectives to come up with a story implicating Burton in order to protect themselves. Cops said Burton, then 16, was a crackhead who killed his 59-year-old mother, to pay off a drug debt. Green told police he helped Burton stage the crime scene to look like a rape and robbery.
Green was murdered before Burton’s trial. Prosecutors are now convinced that Green probably killed Burton’s mother.
Burton’s father, Raphael Burton, was in Jamaica visiting family when his wife was slain. He spent his life savings on his son’s defense, but he died before Burton was released from prison.
Burton was tried as an adult, and convicted of second-degree murder.
Burton, who steadfastly maintained his innocence, was denied parole five times before he was finally released in 2009. His conviction was finally overturned 10 years later.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said the lawsuit will be reviewed.
Burton is asking the court for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
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