Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US man freed after 21 years in prison on murder charge

19 May 2015, 14:23

Salem -  A Dominican-born man who had spent 21 years behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit was released from prison on Monday after a Massachusetts judge threw out his sentence, ruling that the prosecution's case was flawed.

Superior Court Judge David Lowy vacated a life sentence imposed on Angel Echavarria for the 1994 shooting death of Daniel Rodriguez in Lynn.

Echavarria, dressed in a dark suit, was released from the courthouse to cheers and applause from family and supporters. He cried and embraced his family, saying he looked forward most to spending time with loved ones.

"They finally made justice. I been through a lot in jail. I'm innocent. I never gave up," Echavarria said, according to the Boston Globe.

Echavarria, aged 48, will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device and remain in Massachusetts as prosecutors decide whether to again take up the case. He will also not be allowed to obtain a passport.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office said it is currently reviewing the case. It has until May 30 to decide to appeal the judge's decision to grant a new trial.

Echavarria also thanked the Brandeis University institute that helped free him. The new trial was prompted by a decadelong investigation by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

"We are deeply grateful that the criminal justice system has finally recognised that Angel Echavarria never received a fair trial," Florence Graves, the institute's founding director, said in a statement. "The evidence against Angel was deeply flawed, and there was no physical evidence against him."

The institute found a number of legal problems, including inconsistent testimony from witnesses and poor legal representation from Echavarria's then-lawyer.

The state public defender's office sought a new trial in 2010 based largely on the institute's investigation; a judge granted the new trial April 30.

The state's case against Echavarria was based mostly on eyewitness testimony from the victim's brother, who did not speak English and was a habitual marijuana user, according to the institute.

The eyewitness described the shooter as a 20-year-old, clean-shaven Puerto Rican man with a "stocky" or "chunky" build. Echavarria, from the Dominican Republic, in 1994 weighed just 61kg and had a full mustache.

Judge Lowy found that Echavarria's original trial lawyer also did not cross-examine the victim's brother thoroughly and did not give Echavarria the chance to testify in his own defense.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- AP

Tags us

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I need a miracle to win in 2017, ...

An MP says that he needs a miracle to win the 2017 elections but has not given up on victory despite the odds being against him. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Raila ungrateful for my help, MP ...

An MP says that he made ODM famous in Meru and has accused the party of ungratefulness despite his hard work. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I'm ready for by-election today, ...

I'm ready for a by election, an angry ODM rebel MP tells Raila Odinga. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
ODM kicks 6 MPs out of Parliament...

ODM has kicked 6 rebel members out of house committees. Read more...