A man who says he was wrongly convicted in the 1994 rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Putnam County was released on bail Friday.
Andrew Krivak's release comes more than a year after the conviction against him was vacated following newly discovered evidence in the killing of Josette Wright. He has maintained his innocence in the child's murder and said an officer coerced him into signing a false statement written by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.
According to The Exoneration Project, a group that investigates and appeals wrongful convictions, the agreement to release Krivak was reached Wednesday. In addition to evidence pointing a serial convicted pedophile, Howard Gombert, as the sole perpetrator of Wright's murder, more evidence emerged to cast doubt on Krivak's alleged confession.
Putnam County Sheriff's Department officer Daniel Stephens allegedly used the same coercion tactics on Krivak that he had used on Jeffrey Deskovic, another teen exonerated in the 1990 rape and murder of a teenage classmate. Krivak later began a client under Deskovic's Foundation for Justice to help the wrongfully convicted, according to The Exoneration Project.
The evidence that pointed to Gombert as the real killer also helped acquitted Krivak's friend, Anthony DiPippo, in the case.
"We call on the DA to examine the facts and circumstances of this case. Apparently his office is the only one that believes there is evidence worthy of moving forward," Kravik's lawyer said Friday.
DiPippo was found guilty of murdering and raping the 12-year-old girl in two separate trials, and higher courts overturned the convictions each time. He has maintained his innocence in the child's murder.
Wright's family was in court, clearly upset, when DiPippo was released on bail in 2016. They believed DiPippo is guilty and DiPippo said he understood the family's feelings.
"It was a tragic thing," he said four years ago. "I couldn't imagine how bad it was for them all these years. I pray for them and hope they find some semblance of peace."
Wright disappeared in early October 1994, and her remains were discovered in woods in Patterson more than 13 months later, The Journal News reports. DiPippo and his friend Krivak were charged in the case in July 1996.
Krivak was tried separately in 1997 and he has served 24 years of his 25-year to life sentence.