What to Know
- Pedro Hernandez, 17, has been on Rikers Island since his arrest last July in a 2015 shooting that left a teenager injured
- Prosecutors recently offered Hernandez a plea deal requiring five years probation, but Hernandez says he's innocent and wants to go to trial
- He became an academic standout in his time in prison and was nominated for a college scholarship, but can't accept it while behind bars
A Bronx teenager who has been behind bars for more than a year for a crime he insists he didn’t commit is getting out after an I-Team investigation.
The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization said it will post a $100,000 bail for 17-year-old Pedro Hernandez on Thursday morning.
Hernandez has been imprisoned at Rikers Island since his arrest last July in connection with a 2015 shooting that injured a teenager.
Hernandez has no criminal history and has maintained his innocence. His alleged victim even told the I-Team last November that Hernandez was not the triggerman. He was offered a plea deal, but didn’t accept it, choosing instead to fight for his innocence.
His mother, Jessica Perez, was elated by Wednesday’s news.
“It’s amazing to have people like the RFK just coming and standing by our side. It means the world to us. Because now I know we’ve got a good cause to fight for. Our kids don’t deserve plea bargains, especially when they’re innocent,” Perez said.
In an exclusive report earlier this month, the I-Team covered Hernandez’s decision to stay behind bars on Rikers Island and take his case to trial rather than accept a plea deal on a gun charge.
"I’m not pleading guilty to something I did not do," he said. “I’m willing to stay and fight this because I’m innocent."
The dilemma: Hernandez, who became an academic standout during his time on Rikers, has been nominated for a college scholarship from a non-profit foundation. He can’t accept it while incarcerated.
Hernandez has been housed in the adolescent jail on Rikers since his arrest last July in connection with a 2015 shooting outside a supermarket that left a teenager injured. Hernandez has consistently professed his innocence, but his family has been unable to post the $250,000 bond to get him out.
The 16-year-old victim in that 2015 shooting, who was hit in the leg, also told the I-team in November that Hernandez wasn’t the gunman. The teen said officers from the 42nd Precinct, and one in particular, David Terrell, had pressured him to falsely implicate Hernandez. Another teen said he was pressured to do the same.
In December, the NYPD stripped Terrell, now a detective, of his gun and badge. He remains on modified duty. The Bronx district attorney's office said it is investigating allegations of misconduct against the 42nd Precinct.