RIVERHEAD, New York (WABC) -- A Suffolk County man who spent more than half his life in prison for a 1975 Long Island murder has had his conviction overturned.
A judge ruled Wednesday that Keith Bush's conviction was tainted because prosecutors didn't disclose that police had interviewed another possible suspect, John Jones. Bush said he always thought this day would come.
Bush was 17 when 14-year-old Sherese Watson's body was found in a vacant lot in North Bellport.
Bush was convicted of murder and attempted sexual abuse and spent 33 years in prison. He was paroled in 2007, but has had to register as a sex offender.
After Bush's lawyer sued for case records in 2018, authorities turned over a statement from the other potential suspect, now dead, saying he'd stumbled over Watson's body.
A written confession by Bush was deemed false, most likely coerced by police and they found that the murder weapon prosecutors say was used, was not actually the murder weapon. Officials say detectives had manufactured a murder weapon, a hair pick from Bush's home.
The review convinced Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini that the conviction should be overturned.
"44 years is more than a lifetime of suffering, and I know that it cannot be brought back, but there are opportunities to learn, to grow," said Bush. "And believe me, I have learned and grown as a result of that."
"On behalf of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and law enforcement community I'm sorry. We believe Keith Bush did not commit this murder," Sini said.
Bush said while it was a happy day for him, it was a sad day for Watson's family as she died a violent death and her killer was never brought to justice.
When asked if he forgives the police, Bush said absolutely not.
"Do you know what they did to me? Do you know what they did to the victim's family?" he said.
(Some information from the Associated Press)