New Jersey man imprisoned 19 years for murder to be exonerated

Gerard Richardson's attorneys say DNA testing shows a bite mark left on the murder victim's back is from another man.

December 17, 2013 5:54:46 AM PST
A judge in New Jersey on Tuesday is expected to fully exonerate a man who served 19 years for a murder he says he did not commit.

Gerard Richardson, 48, will appear in court in Somerset County, where the prosecution is expected to dismiss charges against him.

Richardson was released from prison in October after a judge threw out his 1995 conviction in the killing of 19-year-old Monica Reyes based on new DNA evidence.

Reyes' body was found in a ditch in Bernards Township in north-central New Jersey. The chief physical evidence included a bite mark on the victim's back that a prosecution expert said was made by Richardson.

Bite mark evidence has come under challenge from defense attorneys in recent years, and the Innocence Project says more than two dozen defendants either convicted or charged with rape and murder using bite mark evidence have been exonerated since 2000.

Richardson admitted he sold drugs in the 1990s and was "a young guy doing what I wanted to do, not really living life the way I should have" at the time of Reyes' murder. But he adamantly denied killing her. "I wasn't no angel, but I didn't kill anybody," he said.

Richardson said he never gave up hope that he would be released someday to rejoin his three daughters, three sons and grandchildren.