Judge overturns inmate's murder conviction

April 1, 2008 4:56:11 PM PDT
After serving 10 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, Michael Clancy had his conviction overturned by a judge Tuesday.Clancy was convicted on November 23, 1999, for the 1997 murder of John Buono. He was sentenced to 25 years to live in prison.

The court's decision follows the testimony of David Prieto, a former federal informant and an eyewitness to the March 30, 1997 murder of Buono. Prieto repeatedly told various prosecutors at various points that he had information about the man actually responsible for the killing.

However, these leads were never pursued by the authorities, and Prieto's precarious personal situation, at one point facing the death penalty, prevented him from personally testifying on Clancy's behalf. Prieto ultimately came forward and testified at an evidentiary hearing late last year.

In September, Prieto testified that he'd seen someone other than Clancy shoot Buono in a Bronx pizza shop.

"Michael Clancy, at long last, is on his journey home," attorneys Ron Kuby and David Pressman said shortly after Judge Denis John Boyle announced his decision at approximately 2:15 p.m. at Bronx County Supreme Court.

Assistant DA Gary Weil says his office has not yet decided whether to prosecute Clancy again, but that he does not think Prieto is believable. But in the meantime, Clancy's relatives hope to post his $50,000 bail and bring him home for a meal of pork, rice and beans.

After the judge announced his decision, Clancy waved and smiled at his tearful family.

"It was not only him who was punished," his mother, 62-year-old Gloria Clancy, said outside court. "I guess the whole family went through 11 years of hell, really."

Prieto is in federal prison for murder and narcotics convictions, but he received no protection or shortened sentence for his testimony.


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