A New York City judge has overturned the conviction of a woman who was accused of killing a man during a 1991 robbery.
Vanessa Gathers wiped tears from her eyes and hugged her lawyer as Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D'Emic dismissed her conviction Tuesday. She also hugged Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
"I feel great," she said as she walked out of court Tuesday. "I'm gonna go on with my life."
The 58-year-old Gathers spent 10 years behind bars on a manslaughter conviction in the death of 71-year-old Michael Shaw. She was paroled in 2007.
Shaw died in April 1992 of Shaw died of trauma to his head after he was robbed and beaten in his apartment on New York Avenue in Crown Heights.
Gathers was questioned by disgraced former detective Louis Scarcella about the crime in 1997, coaxed into a false confession and convicted of manslaughter on that thin piece of evidence, Thompson alleges.
Gathers had initially denied her involvement but confessed when she was questioned five years later.
Thompson has said the confession was vague and inaccurate and questioned its validity.
Scarcella has had 18 of his convictions vacated, authorities said. He allegedly forced false convictions, tampered with lineups and invented evidence in a number of cases to win convictions.
"Today, with this exoneration, Vanessa Gathers gets her good name back, and now she's finally free of the burden she had to carry for 18 years," said Thompson.