This news has been received from: New York Post

All trademarks, copyrights, videos, photos and logos are owned by respective news sources. News stories, videos and live streams are from trusted sources.

A Brooklyn man who served two decades in prison for a shooting he didn’t commit was set free last week by a judge who found him innocent of the crime.

“I don’t believe it some days, some minutes,” said Eric DeBerry, 44. “It’s surreal.”

He got the call from his lawyer last Monday at Mohawk Correctional Facility with the news he’d be going home after 20 years behind bars.

An hour later, a correction officer escorted him into a van bound for the train station.

“I asked [the officer], ‘What row you want me to sit in?’” DeBerry said. “He said, ‘You can sit wherever you want, you’re not in prison anymore.’ ”

When he reached Penn Station, he met his wife Yvonne, whom he hadn’t seen in three years.

“I wanted to be cool,” he recalled. “I tried to hold it in, I tried not to cry but it’s just impossible. My wife has been there the entire time.”

A judge overturned DeBerry’s conviction for the 1999 Brooklyn shooting after the victim and the main witness against him at trial, Kareem Collins, recanted. The actual shooter, Roberto Velasquez, also confessed.

DeBerry’s lawyers from the firm White & Case had been heading upstate to meet him at the prison, but he was released so suddenly that they stopped and met him at the Poughkeepsie train station.

They were carrying a bag of McDonald’s food, which DeBerry’s wife had told the attorneys was his favorite food.

Eric DeBerry (left) and his wife Yvonne DeBerryGregory P. Mango

Clutching the order of two large fries and a double quarter-pounder, attorney Sam Hershey and his team, who took the case pro bono, boarded the train and handed over the bagged lunch.

“It had been 21 years of no McDonald’s,” DeBerry said. “It [the meal] was heaven.”

But DeBerry’s joy at reuniting with his wife and family, couldn’t overshadow the challenges of transitioning back to a life not glimpsed through steel bars.

He and his wife have a 21-year-old daughter, who is in college. She was just 3 when DeBerry went to prison, and he missed all the milestones of her youth.

The neighborhood he grew up in, Crown Heights, has transformed so dramatically in his absence he didn’t recognize the streets of his childhood now dotted with luxury rental buildings and upscale shops.

Eric DeBerryGregory P. Mango

“This is my ‘hood. I was born here,” he said. “It made me sad a little bit.”

The finding of innocence, which DeBerry had been fighting for, for two decades, arrived 15 months shy of his release date. He was sentenced to 25 years for assault, robbery and weapons possession but would have been out in less with good behavior.

“My life is so bittersweet,” he said. “I believed in the system, I just knew I would not go to prison for this, and it failed me.”

He added, “You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to reach out and for someone to hear you.”

Eventually, someone did hear him. His family approached White & Case and Hershey agreed to fight for his exoneration. “For him to believe in my story. I couldn’t ask for much more than that,” he said.

During the firm’s investigation, the alleged victim, Collins, provided a sworn affidavit admitting he had lied on the stand when he identified DeBerry as the shooter.

Collins said he had tried to rob Velasquez, who shot him. Collin’s version of the incident matched testimony Velasquez gave in 2003, admitting he was the shooter as part of a failed bid for DeBerry’s freedom.

Eric DeBerryGregory P. Mango

But this time was different. After a two-day hearing, Justice Lawrence Knipel ruled on June 16 that DeBerry had “established his innocence by clear and convincing evidence” over the objection of the Brooklyn DA’s office.

“There was at times so little hope,” said DeBerry. “I just always said, I’m not going to let the system break me.”

After decades spent looking backward, DeBerry has shifted his focus to the future. His most important objective is to ensure his daughter graduates college, he said. Beyond that, he has a modest bucket list.

“I want to travel, I want to apple pick, I want to do little stuff I never did,” he said. “I just want to sit down, watch the sun rise and watch the sun fall.”

Filed under brooklyn ,  exoneration ,  freedom ,  prison ,  shootings ,  6/29/20 Share this article: Share this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flipboard
  • WhatsApp
  • Email
  • Copy

Read Next

NYC eatery owners sound off on possible delay to indoor di...

Read Next

NYC eatery owners sound off on possible delay to indoor di...

Share Selection

Trending Now on NYPost.com
  • This story has been shared 67,038 times. 67,038

    De Blasio plans to cut NYPD budget by $1B as NYC shootings spike
  • This story has been shared 52,948 times. 52,948

    Rambozos: Couple draws guns on protesters outside their home
  • This story has been shared 48,287 times. 48,287

    Prince Charles knew Meghan Markle was not long for The Firm
  • Columnists
    • Keith J. Kelly Hamptons newspapers The Independent, Dans Papers to merge
    • Jennifer Gould NYC soup kitchens are now serving grad students, actors and musicians
    see all columnists what to shop now Gap takes 60 percent off everything for sitewide Great Gap Sale Nordstrom takes up to 60 percent off apparel, shoes and more DSW takes 25 percent off select styles for flash sale Lululemon offers up to 50 percent off apparel, accessories and more The best summer getaway rentals near NYC Page Six Style
  • Kate Middleton pairs her pretty floral dress with $7 earrings Kate Middleton pairs her pretty floral dress with $7 earrings
  • Kris Jenner pairs her $6K bejeweled martini purse with the real thing Kris Jenner pairs her $6K bejeweled martini purse with the real thing
  • Miley Cyrus bares abs in Beatles-inspired dress for Global Citizen performance Miley Cyrus bares abs in Beatles-inspired dress for Global Citizen performance
  • Now On Now on Page Six
  • Coty deal could make Kim first real billionaire in Kardashian-Jenner family Coty deal could make Kim first real billionaire in Kardashian-Jenner family
  • Kate Middleton pairs her pretty floral dress with $7 earrings Kate Middleton pairs her pretty floral dress with $7 earrings
  • Husband of ‘Tan Mom’ diagnosed with colon cancer after heart attack, stroke Husband of ‘Tan Mom’ diagnosed with colon cancer after heart attack, stroke
  • SEE ALL Video Video length 30 seconds :30 Woman cheats death after crash sends car into the sidewalk More Stories page six Prince Charles knew Meghan Markle was not long for The Firm nypost De Blasio plans to cut NYPD budget by $1B as NYC shootings spike New York Post
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Messenger
    • Email
    • YouTube
    • Email Newsletters
    • Mobile Apps
    • Contact Us
    • Tips
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Messenger
    • Email
    • YouTube
    • Sections & Features
      • News
      • Tech
      • Metro
      • Real Estate
      • Page Six
      • Video
      • Sports
      • Photos
      • Business
      • Alexa
      • Opinion
      • Covers
      • Entertainment
      • Horoscopes
      • Fashion
      • NY Post Shopping
      • Sports Odds
      • Living
      • Classifieds
      • Media
    • Newsletters & More
      • Email Newsletters
      • RSS Feeds
      • Store
      • Home Delivery
        • Subscribe
        • Manage Subscription
        • Delivery Help
    • Help/Support
      • Customer Service
      • App FAQ & Help
      • Contact Us
        • Tips
        • Newsroom
        • Letters to the Editor
        • Reprints
        • Careers
    • Apps
      • iPhone App
      • iPad App
      • Android Phone
      • Android Tablet
      • Advertise
        • Media Kit
        • Contact

    Post Digital Network

    • Page Six
    • Page Six Style
    • Decider

    © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use Privacy Notice Your Ad Choices Sitemap

    Your California Privacy Rights Do Not Sell My Personal Information

    New York Post

    Would you like to receive desktop browser notifications about breaking news and other major stories?

    Not Now Yes Please

    Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Cancel Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. click to copy

    News Source: New York Post

    Tags: exoneration brooklyn exoneration freedom prison shootings

    Hong Kong Court Denies Bail to First Person Charged Under New Law

    Next News:

    Cops cuff man behind deadly multi-car hit-and-run in Brooklyn

    Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York City

    A man was arrested on Sunday night for his alleged involvement in a deadly Brooklyn hit-and-run.

    Police say that at 7:19 p.m. on July 5, officers from the 70th Precinct responded to a 911 call of a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian struck at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Avenue J. Upon their arrival, officers found 58-year-old Mariya Ursachenko lying in the roadway with head trauma.

    An investigation found that a black 2015 Kia Optima, operated by 25-year-old Mohammed Nasim, was driving southbound on Ocean Avenue in the turn lane at an apparent high rate of speed. As he reached the intersection at Avenue J, Nasim allegedly disobeyed a steady red light and stuck a 2015 Lexus E35 sedan, operated by a 26-year-old man, which was going through the green light eastbound on Avenue J.

    As a result, the Lexus hit Ursachenko, who was crossing Ocean Avenue in the crosswalk, and knocked her into the roadway. The Lexus proceeded to rotate counter-clockwise and came to rest in the northbound left-turn lane on Ocean Avenue.

    EMS rushed Ursachenko to Maimonides Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The driver of the Lexus was taken to NYC Health & Hospitals/Coney Island in stable condition.

    Nasim’s car rotated clockwise and hit a 2019 Infiniti QX6 SUV, operated by a 38-year-old man, that was traveling north in the left lane on Ocean Avenue. Nasim allegedly fled the scene on foot but was subsequently apprehended and charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular assault, reckless driving, failure to yield to a pedestrian, a red light traffic violation, failure to exercise due care, and a speed violation.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    Other News

    • Ringo Starr Birthday Special: Interesting Facts About the Beatles Drummer that We Bet You Didnt Know
    • Stephen Millers Wife Recalls How DHS Sent Her to Visit Border Detention Camps to Try to Make Me More Compassionate, But It Didnt Work
    • Betts: Baseball didnt do good job with response to Floyd
    • American student locked in Egyptian prison for over a year without trial is freed, returns to US
    • American medical student freed after being detained in Egyptian prison for more than a year
    • Think the new "Unsolved Mysteries" is scary? The original will freak you out
    • Missouri Governor Signs Bill to Increase Prison Sentences
    • Brooklyn man tried to smuggle 590 Egyptian artifacts through JFK: Feds
    • Turlock Man Gets 2-Year Prison Sentence For Striking Helicopter With Powerful Laser
    • Frederick Douglass Had Harsh Words For Statue Of A Kneeling Freed Slave In Recently Discovered Letter
    • Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell transferred to Brooklyn prison
    • Egyptian American medical student freed from Egyptian prison after more than a year
    • Epstein associate Ghislane Maxwell transferred to Brooklyn prison
    • Jorge Masvidal on UFC 251 negotiations: I didnt get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it
    • Queer Eye hosts on that captivating scene with Wesleys shooter that almost didnt happen
    • UFC: Jorge Masvidal on UFC 251 negotiations, I didnt get exactly what I wanted, but I got very very close.
    • Jon Gosselin: Why I Didnt Spend 4th of July With Son Collin
    • Jon Gosselin Explains Why Son Collin Didnt Join Him for Fourth of July
    • Hamilton says he didnt push for other drivers to take knee