A man who spent 13 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted is suing the city of New York.
Johnnie O’Neal, 54, was convicted in 1984 of raping and robbing a woman at knifepoint on the rooftop of the Frederick Douglass Houses on the Upper West Side. He sued the city of Monday for the shady investigation that took away more than ten years of his life.
[O’Neal] writes in court documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court that the detective on his case falsely testified the victim’s mother identified him from a 10th-story window.
O’Neal also charges that Manhattan prosecutors suppressed the fact that victims of similar attacks in the area at the time told cops O’Neal was not their assailant.
“Exculpatory evidence was withheld from plaintiff during the course of his criminal trial,” his suit says.
A re-investigation of O’Neal’s case in 2007 uncovered evidence pointing to Gregory (PeeWee) Smith as the suspect in a series of rapes at the time.
Smith, who died 15 years ago, used the same type of knife and wore the same kind of jacket the victims described and even confessed to the crime, according to investigators.
O’Neal, who was officially exonerated by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge, now lives in Suffolk County. The suit seeks an unspecified amount.
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