NY Daily News - A man who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a Brooklyn murder that took place while he was vacationing in Disney World 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 DA’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.
Joe Marino/New York Daily News Jonathan Fleming hugs his mother, Patricia, after New York State Supreme Court Justice Matthew D'Emic overturned his murder conviction — 25 years after he began serving a prison sentence for the crime he didn't commit.
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 any years,” mother Patricia Fleming, 72, said through tears after she hugged her son. “I feel like a burden was lifted.”
I can't decide if this is a positive or a negative for Disneyworld.
On the one hand, if it weren't for this magical kingdom this guy would have had no alibi to speak of and probably would be spending the rest of his life in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
On the other hand, this just goes to prove that Disneyworld is the absolute worst place to go for vacation in the history of amusement. Think about this guys trip. His last days as a free man were spent waiting in massive lines for few solid, mostly mediocre rides, eating terrible and overpriced food, being harassed by weird actors who creepily overplay their roles, listening to kids crying left and right, and then comes home to a murder sentence and prison bars. A big part of me wants to say Disneyworld's karma followed him home.
Every family has had that vacation to Orlando, and every family leaves wishing they'd gone to a beach instead. So I dunno, I mean I'm happy for the guy and all and I'm glad he was eventually able to show his true whereabouts on the night in question and beat back the corrupt system, but I can't help but feel like if he hadn't had exposed himself to that bad Disneyworld ju-ju then none of this would have even happened...