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tv   A Bronx Tale  MSNBC  October 11, 2015 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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out of the blue one day you have a collect from an inmate at sing sing correctional facility. okay. >> do you think the system works and we're going to beat this. we didn't. >> he's become my brother. >> i want to see him out. >> life was cheap that night in new york. two brutal murders just a half mile apart. >> homicide crime scene. >> six people were convicted including eric glisten. >> you actually think they read the wrong verdict. >> then divine intervention
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through a nun he called grandma. >> eric would say, grandma, i think this is all happening for a reason. >> he'd been behind bars for nearly two decades, lost his last appeal. maybe a nun could help him get him to heaven, but could she help him get out of prison? >> what she helped him do was get a lawyer and together they hunted for the truth. >> this is the one case that has kept me up at night for six years. >> he says i know you're inon sent. i know the guys who comitted this crime. >> tonight, will justice finally arrive? >> oh, my god! >> grandma! ♪ >> here's josh mankiewicz with "a bronx tale." ♪ ♪ ♪ >> sing sing correctional facility, the maximum security prison in new york. this is the big house, home to
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some of the worst of the worst. killers, rapists, drug dealers. >> good morning. >> thank you. >> it is not where you'd expect to find this gentle woman. >> in sing sing they call me grandma. >> grandma is sister joanna chan, a mary knoll nun. >> i began working at sing sing more than 12 years ago. >> this is the battle about general adult. >> grandma volunteers at the prison, working with inmates in a theater program. [ applause ] >> she even teaches them chinese. >> through the years, grandma has helped dozens of men, but she says this inmate here on stage, a convicted killer has changed her. >> he's just so brave. watching him all these years i take such courage myself watching him. >> sister joanna remembers the first time she met this inmate. he was sitting alone eating.
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>> he said my family sent me 30 pounds of food. i said your family must love you very much. he said yes because they know i'm innocent. and that's how the whole story began. >> a story that began with the unlikely friendship between a nun and a convicted killer would grow into a quest that would shake the faith of even those sworn to uphold the law. >> i thought if he was innocent god has to see him through. so who is this convicted murderer? he is inmate 97a7088, 38-year-old eric glisten. we first met him in the spring of 2012 when a dateline producer working on a different story in sing sing met eric in his cell. >> you're going to film me? >> he'd been locked up for 18 years. >> you want to see what it's like to live in here?
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i can touch the walls with my hands. >> eric told us he didn't belong here. >> my story is i'm unjustly convicted for a crime i didn't commit and from february 3rd of 1995 until the present day i've been sitting here lingering every day wondering whether this mistakeill be corrected. >> we've heard that before. many times, but what if he was telling the truth? >> so over time, we began visiting eric. >> what's up? >> you're looking good. >> and listening to his story. >> when i was arrested i was under the impression that people who were guilty actually go to jail. i didn't know i would be convicted of a crime i didn't do. >> when police put the cuffs on him in 1995 eric was 20 years old, a brand-new father of a 1 week old baby girl. since then their only time together has been spent in sing
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sing's visiting room. >> i have a family who i love and who loves me. my daughter, i need to get home to her and be a father. >> eric often shared his story with sister joanna. over time, she felt compelled to do something, anything for him, so she called the only lawyer she knew. >> the first person i could think of was mr. peter cross. >> i trust her judgment. to me it was worth investing my time in. >> attorney peter cross agreed to at least see if there was some truth to eric's story, but this is just one problem. >> this is not the law you practice. >> no. i'm a corporate lawyer. i do litigation and i don't do criminal work. >> charmaine chester is peter's assista assistant. this is new territory for her. >> out of the blue one day i get this call, you have a collect call from an inmate at sing sing correctional facility. okay. soon she found herself spending hours on the phone with the
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inmate. >> at first it was all, you know, business as case is case, but by the time you've talked to somebody every day the personal things start to slip in. >> friendship. >> friendship. >> in the meantime, her boss was checking out eric's claims of innocence. >> did you believe it at the beginning? >> i'm not going to say i didn't disbelieve him. i've been listening for a long time. >> and people lie. >> they certainly color the truth. this is a man who was convicted of murdering someone, so, of course, i approached it with some skepticism. >> reporter: but once cross learned the facts he agreed to takeric's case at no charge, representing a man who didn't seem hardened by prison, but almost frightened. >> it's terrifying because you could be justic walking in the yard and you could be shanked, that's a knife in prison. >> a life he's lived for nearly two decades. >> the story was telling us, if true, was as explosive as it was
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tragic. >> it turns out that the police and the district attorney had all of the evidence at their disposal to solve this crime from the beginning. >> not only was eric insisting he was wrongfully convicted. he said others were, too, all of them locked away for life for the same crime. >> five other people. five other people was also convicted of this crime. six people, could all of them be innocent? >> time now is approximately 6:15. to find out we'll go back almost two decades and take a hard look at how it all began. >> is it possible to get something so important so wrong about so many people? when we come back, we investigate what the police didn't to find out what one witness really saw from her window the day of the murder. >> how the detectives could have decided to run with this still shocks me today.
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sing, a convicted murderer has convinced a nun and a corporate lawyer that there's been a terrible miscarriage of justice. eric glisson is in his 18th year of a 25 to life murder sentence. he claims he's innocent. >> have you ever been in prison before this? >> no. >> what's it like to live in prison? >> it's hell. >> a brutal killing of a fedex recruiter is under investigation. >> eric dmrison's nightmare began on the night of january 18, 1995. the new york city detectives lining this hallway in the bronx were entering a crime scene as chilling as it was violent. >> she had three pairs of handcuffs on her wrists. a sock was stuffed into her mouth. >> the victim's name was denise raymond. she was an executive with fedex.
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cops videoed the entire scene and anything that might seem important. a wallet with missing card, a carton of juice in the sink, an audio cassette on the bedroom floor. it had been ripped out of denise raymond's answering machine. >> unfortunately, i'm unavailable to answer your call right now. >> detectives are mystified over the vicious killing of a successful representative. >> the case went to tom aiello. they knocked on doors and collecting evidence. then as the sun rose the next morning some of those cops turned their attention to another murder, another bloody crime scene. this is the video police recorded of that second murder scene. it was seemingly unrelated, but just a half mile away in the same precinct. this was a busy night for the murder business in the bronx. >> time now is approximately
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7:15 a.m. on january 19, 1995. >> this time a livery cab driver named baithe diop was found slumped over his steering wheel shot momentum timmultiple times. >> the investigation of the driver was headed by mike donnelly who worked alongside aiello. the two detectives ended up putting their heads and their cases together concluding the same group of several people committed both murders. >> did you know the other people? >> i knew two of them. >> from the neighborhood. >> from the neighborhood. >> these are good friends of yours. >> acquaintances. >> just guys you saw around. >> it's february 4, 1995. >> one of those guys was 19-year-old michael cosme. the first suspect arrested. >> he was the only one to be videotaped by police.
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>> you've been advised of your rights and you have the right to answer the questions. >> i have one thing to say. >> i have one thing to say though. >> i am innocent. i didn't do it. i wasn't there. i was in my house asleep. >> detectives didn't believe him and cosme was arrested for both murders. days later, so was eric glisson. >> originally you were charged with both murders with the denise raymond murder and the cab driver murder. >> yes. >> by the time eric went to trial, prosecutors dropped charges against him in the denise raymond case citing lack of evidence. so what evidence was there against him in the cab driver case? >> it's really pretty simple, was there a witness against him. her name, miriam tavares. she said she looked out the window and saw it all, eric and the others smack in the middle of the cab driver robbery that ended in murder. >> is it possible that miriam saw you commit a crime? >> no.
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>> not any crime? >> wasn't there. >> bad blood between you and miriam? >> yes. bad blood. >> eric says he had a brief sexual relationship with miriam that did not end well. >> you have a fling with a girl and then you just cut her off abruptly and she may feel slighted. >> slightly enough to make you a murder suspect? >> i guess so. >> whatever her motivation, the question is how reliable was she as a witness? all these years later, eric finally had someone to take another look at miriam's story, attorney peter cross. >> there's no doubt that this woman was lying. i went out to the crime scene, and she could not possibly have seen what she said occurred. >> so what could miriam tavares really see? here's the problem with miriam's story. from that police video, we know this is where the cab came to rest. >> we also know the shooting happened a couple of car lengths back. sort of where the suv is.
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we know a man in that building called 911 when he heard the shots and he said he saw only one person running away from the scene. now a couple of weeks later miriam tavares comes forward. she lives in that building over there. now you're looking at me from just outside the window through which miriam said she saw all of this happen. this has to be easily 100 yard away and she says she saw six people from the neighborhood commit the crime. she says she saw what they stole and she said she saw all of it looking through this bathroom window. the only problem is if you go back to where the shooting actually happened it's pretty clear miriam tavares couldn't have seen anything at all. >> she said from her bathroom window she heard these conversations going on inside the car. i mean, it's just incredible testimony. >> but what disturbed cross even more, detective donnelly never looked at the crime scene from the perspective you just did. >> wouldn't that sort of be
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standard operating procedure to check out what witnesses say? >> i would think so. i think they got on their horse early on in this case and they rode that horse and they weren't going to change direction. >> we wanted to speak with miriam tavares. she died of a drug overdose in 2002. other than her testimony, was there no physical evidence, no forensics, nothing, that tied eric or the others to the cab driver's murder. even so, detectives donnelly and aiello went with what they had and closed both murder cases. >> within weeks they arrested their suspects and the bronx district attorney tried them. in all, six people were convicted. we'll call them the bronx six, five men and a woman all sent away facing 25 to life. one of them was eric glisson. >> what's it like to hear that verdict read? >> it's like a shot in the chest. it's like your heart just melts,
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just dissolves. you actually think they read the wrong verdict, that this can't be true. >> the nypd was quite proud of detectives donnelly and aiello's work. so proud that five months after the arrest the department aloud the detectives to be featured in "new york" magazine about how they amazingly cracked the cases. >> how the detectives could have believed that and decided to run with this and send them to jail for the rest of their lives on the basis of this garbage still shocks me today. >> all these years later, attorney cross knew his opinion of the detective work in this case wasn't going to freeric glisson or anyone else. >> i think the only kind of evidence that will go to court is if we can point to who the real killers are. >> that was quite a lot to hope for, but from behind bars, eric glisson was already on the trail. >> i got some documents and so i
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see this guy's name keep coming up. a surprise visitor, and an answered prayer. >> he said i'm sorry. i know you're innocent, and i know the guys who committed this crime. >> when "a bronx tale" continues. it's how you stay connected to each other and to your customers. with centurylink you get advanced technology solutions, including an industry leading broadband network, and cloud and hosting services - all with dedicated, responsive support. with centurylink as your trusted technology partner, you're free to focus on growing your business. centurylink. your link to what's next. 40% of the streetlights in detroit, at one point, did not work. you had some blocks and you had major thoroughfares and corridors that were just totally pitch black. those things had to change. we wanted to restore our lighting system in the city.
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♪ these are the people we're calling the bronx six, five men and a woman, all convicted and sent away for 25 years to life for committing murder, all insisted they were innocent. we met one of them, eric glisson in sing sing where from behind bars he'd been trying to get answers ever since he was locked up. >> i've been fighting these people for years asking for documents which they denied me at every turn. >> how many people said to you, look, this could go easier if you stop fighting this, if you just accept this sentence that you've been given and try to get parole? >> i look around me every day,
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and i see a lot of these guys become complacent. >> that's easy to understand. >> they're not going to convict me for something that i didn't do and expect me to accept it. i'm going to fight until the end. i'm a fighter. i die on my feet, not on my knees. >> as the years passed, eric took college courses give know by the prison, he learned about the law and fought his case. >> how did he get that evidence in his possession? >> the court denied all his appeals. >> i don't have any appeals left. nothing. >> it was a lonely fight and then in 2006 he met sister joanna chan in one of the prison's programs, the woman he calls grandma. >> this particular dark time he would say, grandma it's really hard. >> i told her, grandma, i just lost my last appeal. i don't know what i'm going to do. >> i always say you know, eric, let's keep the faith and let's go and pray, and i said we have
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many, many sisters praying with you. >> sister joanna offered more than just her prayers. that's when she brought in peter cross who was now fighting for eric on the outside. >> so you have detective donnelly as the officer assigned. >> with eric as his guide, cross got up to speed, and he found some troubling information about how detectives donnelly and aiello connected the two murders. it was through this witness, her name is kathy gomez. >> kathy, we're on the record. >> cross tracked her down and videotaped his interview with her. >> you know i'm here today because eric glisson. >> gomez who was 16 at the time of the murder said she first came in contact with the detectives for only one reason. she was friends with miriam tavares who spoke only spanish. >> so you served kind of as a translator? >> yes. >> by the time she walked out of the police station kathy gomez had become the key witness in
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the investigation of the fedex murder. gomez had signed a sworn statement claiming she overheard the same suspects talking about details of both crimes that only the killers or the cops would know. >> tell me if you recognize your signature on that? >> yeah. that's my signature. >> here's the problem. it's a crime kathy now says she knew nothing about. >> even told him i even told him i didn't see nothing like that. >> what's more, gomez said she could hardly read or write english. >> they said all you have to do is sign this and you don't have worry about it. you have nothing to do with this. >> kathy told me the entire statement was prepared by the police and she signed it without knowing each what was in it. >> gomez did testify saying she only took the stand because detectives threatened to arrest
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her if she refused. >> they put handcuffs on me and i was freaked out because who wants to be in handcuffers on jail like that? nobody. >> court transcripts show she even attempted suicide as the trial began, but because she didn't testify against eric, her claims all these years later wouldn't help him. >> to have any chance of having another day in court, eric knew he'd made powerful evidence. evidence of actual innocence. he started thinking. if he and the other five co-defendants had nothing to do with the two murders then who did? after more than a decade of trying, finally some of eric's requests for documents in his case began trickling in. >> i came across one document that had my name as well as my other co-defendants but one name stood out, it was an individual part of of a gang called six, money, murder.
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>> eric was on to an important lead, sex, money murder and even veteran cops knew that name means danger. >> 1997, october, sex, money, murder became my assignment. >> pete was assigned to take down the gang. >> this was all sex, money, murder territory? >> yeah. we're in the heart of it. >> while forcelli there was a cab driver that was killed in the vicinity. >> he went to the 43rd precinct in the south side of bronx to see if there was any truth to the story. >> walked in the precinct and went upstairs and walked into the detective's squad room. >> you said what do you know about the murder? >> in soundview or the area around soundview. >> they had nothing on the description. >> forcelli's informant
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insisted -- >> you made a trip. >> two. they had nothing to fit the description. >> is there any reason why they wouldn't tell you the truth? >> forcelli said the answer might be simple. as far as the nypd was concerned, this homicide was solved, closed. >> the detective may have looked only in the open homicide dra you are and never bothered to look if there was an unsolved homicide to fit the description. >> as far as you know that was the end of it. >> right. i moved on. forcelli soon retired from the nypd not knowing six people had already been convicted. >> in the meantime, eric was stuck in prison. it wasn't until 2012, 14 years later that he hit paydirt and it came in the form of cell phone records. remember, the cab driver's cell phone had been stolen by whoever killed him. >> and i found hundreds of calls after his death. >> the records showed the first call was made from the victim's
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phone minutes after the shooting. the numbers called traced back to relatives of two sex, money, murder gang members named jose rodriguez and gilbert vega. eric believed he finally had evidence showing who the real killers were. >> it took me 16, 17 years to get those through freedom of information. >> they were never provided to the defense? >> no. it turns out that the police and the district attorney had all of the evidence at their disposal to solve this crime from the beginning. >> so he wrote a letter to the u.s. attorney, proclaiming his innocence and detailing the information he'd found out about the sex, money, murder gang. it was a hail mary pass. in an amazing stroke of luck, eric's letter landed on this man's desk, his name, john o'malley, an investigator for the u.s. attorney in new york. days after reading eric's letter o'malley made a personal trip to see eric in sing sing. >> immediately john o'malley
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stood up and asked me did you write this letter and he said yes. he shook my hand and he said i'm sorry. >> i said sorry for what? >> he says, you know, i know you're innocent. when he said that i said, what are you talking about, sir? he said, listen. i know the guys who comitted this crime. >> how did o'malley know? it turns out o'malley worked with detective forcelli on that gang case ten years earlier and back then, those two gang members, jose and gilbert actually confessed the cab driver shooting to o'malley. >> he said when i read this letter everything just came back to me from that day. i put it all together. when these guys confessed to me. >> o'malley didn't want to appear on camera, but told us he also checked with the nypd after getting those confessions back in 2002 and like detective forcelli before him, o'malley was told there was no record of the crime. after getting eric's letter in 2012, o'malley addressed the
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court in a sworn affidavit stating that eric glisson and the others were innocent of the cab driver shooting. armed with that kind of statement you'd think eric would be literally home free. you'd be wrong. coming up, eric glisson isn't giving up. >> this is my wall of hope. everyone here has been unjustly convicted and freed. will his own picture ever be on it? >> tears welled up in my eyes. >> when "a bronx tale" continues.
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hour's top stories. a police officer killed today near memphis. 31-year-old terence oleridge was shot in the suburb of cordova. so far the motive is unclear. he is the third memphis cop to be killed this year. sean bolton was gunned down in a
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traffic stop and southwest airlines still working to fix a glitch affecting its website, mobile app and 450 flights. travelers have to be checked in manually and are urged to arrive two hours early. now back to our msnbc special. >> for the first time in his 18-year struggle to prove that he didn't pull a trigger, eric glisson finally had his hands on a smoking gun. an affidavit from a federal investigator saying eric was innocent. >> he asked me do i have an attorney, and i told him yeah. he said i promise you i will call this lawyer today. >> i was standing on the line in the bank. >> peter cross remembers that phone call. >> mr. o'malley tells me, peter, i'm with the u.s. attorney's office. we know your client is innocent. that was such an emotional moment for me, i -- tears welled up in my eyes right in front of
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the teller. >> i thank god every day for john o'malley. when i looked in that man's eyes i seen a man who has integrity. i seen a man who was honest. >> o'malley's affidavit was enough for the bronx d.a. to reopen the case and to get in front of a judge, but that would take time. two more months. but now, at least, eric had reason to hope and in his cell, he assembled a little photo gallery of others who had been exonerated. >> this is my wall of hope. everyone here has been unjustly convicted and freed. ♪ >> on august 5, 2012, eric's lawyer goes to court. >> this is the first appearance to try to get the judgment vacated. >> cross is joined by his assistant, charmaine chester. by now they've worked on eric's case for six years. >> i want to see him out. i told him the last time i went up to sing sing, i said i'm not visiting you here again.
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this is it. >> finally, cross argues his case to the judge. >> my client has spent 17 years plus in jail for a crime he hasn't committed. >> it doesn't go down like a hollywood script. prosecutors do not admit there's been a terrible mistake. >> your honor, we'll be seeking an extension to answer those motions. >> how much of an extension are the people seeking? >> at this point, your honor, we're asking for 30 days. >> another month. cross is frustrated. >> i was able to get my papers ready. it seems to me that another couple of weeks should be enough to get a response to their motion. >> you've heard the saying that the wheels of justice grind slowly, now you've got a front-row seat. >> we've been trying to put together facts and circumstances surrounding this now 15-year-old trial. >> if at any point you make a determination that you will concede i will advance the case.
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>> translation, this isn't going to end today. eric stays in prison. >> but two weeks later, peter cross heads to sing sing. earlier that morning he'd gotten a call from the d.a.'s office and he has good news for eric. >> i received the call from the d.a. and the bronx telling me that they were ready to make a deal. >> i'm going up now to see eric to talk to him about the conditions for his release. >> eric's used to visits from his lawyer and very used to keeping his own hopes. >> you're looking good. >> on ice. >> i was working out, running, jogging. >> i wouldn't be coming up here. >> cross wants to make sure this sinks in and so he slowly reveals the details. >> i was very surprised today. well, i got a call from ed tulte today saying that we have a proposal for you. the d.a. is now prepared to give
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you a conditional dismissal of the indictment and vacate the conviction. >> today? >> it's not going to be today? but it will be by the 13th, i think. >> are you serious? >> can you believe that? it hasn't set in yet. the initial shock. >> i know. >> all of the fighting that we've done over these years. my heart is beating so fast. >> i'm very happy -- >> i don't know what to -- i mean, you try to prepare yourself for this day when you're doing all of this detective work, putting pieces together and you -- you know, you try to imagine what it will feel like because you look at all of these newspaper articles because on my wall i have a whole panel of every single newspaper article of every guy that was released from prison and one day i said i'm going to make that wall, too. and apparently, i am.
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♪ ♪ >> but unfortunately, for eric, a month later he's still behind bars. >> these people just don't want to let me go. they want to continue to hold me and torture me. the mental trauma i'm going through right now because of this, i'm wondering whether they may renege on this agreement. >> but as excruciating at these hours are, eric shares with us something beyond that wall of hope that's helped him wake up every morning. >> there is a bench by the water that each time i go to the barbershop and i look at that bench and i wonder if i'll ever be able to sit on it and look back up here instead of looking down there. that's been one of my main goals while i was in there, to sit on that bench as a free man. >> coming up, will eric glisson ever get to sit on that bench? he finally gets his day in
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court. >> we have made a decision to take this unprecedented and exceptional step. >> when "a bronx tale" continues. can a business have a mind? a subconscious. a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive? put under a microscope, we can see all the bacteria that still exists. polident's unique micro clean formula works in just 3 minutes, killing 99.99% of odor causing bacteria. for a cleaner, fresher, brighter denture every day.
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♪ ♪ this bench outside sing sing is only a few hundred yards from the prison, but to eric it might as well be in china. >> how many times do you look at that bench? >> every day. >> and thinking i'll be on there one day. >> i want to see what it looks like from that bench to the window because all i know is what it looks like from the window to the bench. >> finally on october 22, 2012, four months after a federal investigator vouched for eric's innocence, his day in court has come.
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eric's been transferred sing sing and is waiting in a holding cell in a bronx county courthouse. >> apparently -- >> it's also been a long, painful road for lawyer peter cross. >> this is the one case that kept me up at night for six years because i knew we had to find like the one-armed man to get him out of jail. >> eric walked into the courtroom. >> numbers four and five on the calendar, eric glisson and kathy. >> standing next to him is kathy watkins. the only woman of the bronx six. >> like eric, she was tried only for the cab driver's murder and in 1997 they went on trial together. >> eric says he doesn't know her now and didn't know her then. >> when trial started the officers was bringing us up to the court and one of the officers says this is watkins, and i said you're kathy watkins? and she said yeah. who are you? i said i'm eric glisson.
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i said how are you involved in this? i don't know. we both didn't know, we were confused. >> her office believes there may have been an injustice, but only agrees to release glisson and watkins if they wear monitoring bracelets as the d.a.'s office continues to investigate. >> we have made a decision to take this unprecedented, as you know, judge, an exceptional step that we are going to consent the conditional vacating of the conviction of these two defendants and the condition being that the defendants do wear those electronic monitoring bracelets. >> all that's left now is for the judge to make it official. >> the record will reflect that the vacator that tor it is gran each is released on their own recognizance. [ cheering ]
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>> eric's friends and family and the news media are waiting for him outside and now for the first time in nearly two decades, eric glisson is about to take his first steps as a free man. [ cheers and applause ] >> eric, what's your emotion right now. >> this is a major pivotal point in my life, and i worked hard. i persevered, and with effort and determination, i'm standing here before you. >> now it's his co-defendant kathy watkins' turn! >> oh, my goodness. >> >> also wrongfully convicted. >> 17 years. >> almost 18 years. >> she was 29 when she went away. >> look at your shirt. >> now she's 46. >> i didn't do it. 100% innocent and this is what the justice system did to me.
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innocent, all the way. >> by january 2013, the convictions for the rest of the bronx six were overturned for both the cab driver murder and fedex executive denise raymond. this is carlos perez, 25 when he was locked up. today he's 44. >> i even wrote the president. since 1995. clinton? bush? i don't know what it was. i said mr. president, we're innocent, but nobody did anything. >> devo, in aers. >> i spent all move 20s and most of my 30s there and i'm just trying to get on with life as i know it as today. >> and michael cosme, remember him? he was the only one videotaped by police. >> i have one thing to say, though. >> i'm innocent. i didn't do it. i wasn't there. >> this is michael today, 18 years later. >> i'm free! >> finally, someone believed
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him. and while we now know those two gang members confessed to the cab driver murder, fedex executive denise raymond's killer or killers have never been brought to justice. >> we wanted to speak with someone from the nypd or the bronx district attorney's office, but both declined comment, citing the multiple civil suits that they now face as the bronx six seek millions in damages against new york city and those two detectives, donnelly and aiello who was portrayed as super sleuths back in 1995 are now both retired, and didn't have anything to say to us. >> but in court filings attorneys for the city of new york deny that either detective threatened witnesses or falsified statements, and point out that several juries heard the witness' testimony at the time and believed them. >> as for eric, it's finally a new day and a new life, one full of amazing discoveries.
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>> hello? >> no, it's upside down. >> huh? >> coming up, no prison bars. no prison guards and doors he can open himself. eric dmrglisson's >> wow. >> and a reunion with a woman who helped him win it. >> oh, my god. >> when "a bronx tale" continues. you loved brad. and then you totaled him. you two had been through everything together. two boyfriends. three jobs. you're like "nothing can replace brad!" then liberty mutual calls. and you break into your happy dance. if you sign up for better car replacement, we'll pay for a car that's a model year newer with 15,000 fewer miles than your old one. see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance.
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[engine revving] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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this way. >> it's october 22, 2012. after living in a prison cell for 18 years, eric glisson is finally a free man.
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and we are by his side as he experiences all of it. >> oh! i see this in the magazine. tap dancing. >> eric's first few hours of freedom are part exhilaration, part discovery. >> hello? hello? >> he's never actually used a cell phone. >> where is cynthia? hello? >> you have it upside-down, eric. >> hello? >> no, it's upside-down. >> hmm? >> like this. >> oh, hello. can you hear me now? like the commercial? that was my first cell phone call. my first cell phone call. >> his first meal, lamb chops. >> wow.
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>> it's like jumping up out of a coffin and walking, being read your last rites and all of a sudden a miracle happens, some doctor that just comes, walks in the room, and knows exactly how to resuscitate you and you're back living again, you're back out in society wondering, you know, will they accept you. yeah, you see? >> on his first night of freedom, eric's lawyer treats him to a hotel room. >> i have a key that's a plastic card. >> there we go. >> wow. oh, this is excellent. holy. wow. this has to be at least a 46-inch tv. the bed. wow.
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i'm used to sleeping on a metal frame, and now i'm on a comfortable bed. >> the real joy for eric -- >> i wonder why there's no fences -- >> is reuniting with his daughter, cynthia. >> ready, set, go. >> she was just a week old when he was arrested. now she's nearly 18. >> don't get too excited. you cheated. >> the champ. >> you cheated. >> shh. >> and that degree he started working on behind bars, eric began taking classes again two days after his release. >> eric glisson. >> and finally got that long-awaited diploma from mercy college. today a fully exonerated eric
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glisson is a businessman, an entrepreneur. >> i'm doing everything single-handedly, all of the reconstruction of the ceiling. there are going to be four tables. >> on the one-year anniversary of his release, eric opened a fresh juice business that he built himself named fresh take. >> afternoon, sir, how are you doing? >> nice place you have here. >> thanks. >> where did you get fresh take? >> well, i knew i had a fresh take on life. i'm free now. i'm no longer the victim. i'm the victim. i won. >> you seem to have come through this remarkably free of bitterness and anger, or you're hiding it very well. >> well, i'm not good at hiding things. it's always going to show. when you hide something, it's just going to fester inside you, and eventually it will come out. if i withheld all of that animosity that people think i
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retain or possess, it will consume me. it will affect me as well as the people around me. i don't have animosity against anybody at this point except the people who grow strawberries and raise the prices. >> because that's a crime. >> it is a crime. >> eric has a business partner, someone he met when he was still locked up. >> he's become my brother. >> it's charmaine. >> i'm the annoying older sister. >> they've been in business eight months now. eric says he loves it. >> big, pivotal point in my life. it gave me a lot of tools. >> on this day we had a little surprise for him. he hasn't seen his sister since he was released, the woman who put eric on a quest for freedom all those years ago. >> working together collectively. oh, my god. oh, my god!
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oh, my! >> congratulations. >> thank you. oh, my gosh. >> they told me you were in china. >> i was. >> and there was one last thing we wanted to do with eric. remember that bench eric could see from inside? not too long ago we took him back there. we watched him finally make good on that promise to himself. to get that other view of the prison. this time from the outside.
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>> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. a jury found these two men guilty of murder. a judge sent them away for life. but we proved they were innocent. >> your motion to vacate your convictions is granted. >> this prisoner heard about that case and asked us to investigate his case. >> i needed somebody to prove i didn't do this.


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