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Man Cleared In A 1996 Brooklyn Killing Said For Decades He Knew Who Did It

via Pix11 News
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Steven Ruffin, who served 14 years in prison for a 1990s shooting, was exonerated after prosecutors now believe the real killer was someone Ruffin had implicated for decades.

Ruffin expressed relief and emphasized the importance of fighting for justice. Prosecutors are considering charges against the new suspect, although they face procedural and factual challenges due to the 30-year-old case.

Ruffin’s conviction is the latest of more than three dozen that Brooklyn prosecutors have disavowed after reinvestigations, some of which were connected to retired Detective Louis Scarcella.

“I lost 14 years of my life for a crime that I didn’t commit,” Ruffin said.

“If you know you’re innocent, don’t give up on your case — keep on fighting, because justice will prevail,” Ruffin said. “That’s all I’ve wanted for 30 years: somebody to listen and really hear what I’m saying and look into the things I was telling them.”

“You have to be able to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt, and we have to make sure that that evidence is sufficient to do so,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “You have a lot of factors working against us procedurally, but also factually — unfortunately, this is 30 years ago.”

The police investigation and the prosecution’s efforts were deemed inadequate and tunnel-visioned, leading to Ruffin’s wrongful conviction.

“We only wish that in 1996, Detective Scarcella and others had performed the investigation they should have and been able to get this right the first time,” attorney Garrett Ordower said.

Despite the exoneration, the finality of a conviction in the victim’s death remains uncertain, and Ruffin is focused on moving forward.

“This never really spoke of the person I was or the man I was going to become,” Ruffin said. “So this, to me, is a great closure of a chapter my life, but my life is still going up.”

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