Nearly 22 years after they were convicted of a triple homicide they say they didn’t commit, Sharrif Wilson and Antonio Yarbough walked out of court Thursday as free men.
A Brooklyn judge vacated murder convictions against the men after new DNA evidence suggested they weren’t responsible for the 1992 stabbing deaths of Yarbough’s mother, his 12-year-old sister and another 12-year-old girl. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said his office decided not to oppose motions to vacate the convictions after looking over the evidence.
“Based on this new evidence, I believe a jury would have been more likely to return a different verdict,” Thompson said in a statement.
The two confessed to the killings after a marathon 28-hour interrogation in 1992, officials said. Wilson, then 15, said he didn’t know what to expect when he went to the police precinct with Yarbough, then 18.
“I gave him moral support and went with him to the precinct,” he said. “When we got to the precinct, they just flipped out and said it was us that did it.”
In 1999, seven years after Wilson and Yarbough were convicted, police collected DNA from another homicide that matched a sample found underneath the fingernails of one of the victims in the 1992 stabbings, officials said. A link between the samples was established sometime last year.
Thursday, after spending more than half his life behind bars, Wilson went to his sister’s house and met his 3-year-old niece for the first time.
“I’m just happy to be home,” he said. “I thank God for every moment.”