Appellate court rules against Brooklyn man's overturned murder conviction

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, September 14, 2018
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Stacey Sager has more from Downtown Brooklyn.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) -- A man who was serving 25 years to life in prison for murder before receiving a second chance last year is back behind bars following a rare ruling by the appellate court.

In July of 2017, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge overturned Tasker Spruill's conviction, concluding the prosecutor "deliberately used false testimony and hid evidence" to send Spruill to jail in 1998.

"I don't even feel like I can stand up," he said after the initial ruling. "I'm shaking because I'm overwhelmed with the feeling of being released after 20 years and being with my family...But I give all the praise to God, and I'm thankful that the appellate division made the right decision."

The murder of the drug dealer happened in 1993, and Spruill -- now 51 -- has always maintained his innocence. A retrial was always possible, but instead, he was back in court Friday after just 14 months of freedom after a state appellate court reversed the earlier ruling and decided to send him back to prison.

"Never, in a million years, I could've seen this coming," he said. "Never."

His attorney plans to appeal yet again, but that could take close to two years. He is also eligible for parole in the spring, but there are no guarantees.

"It's hard to make sense," attorney Rita Dave said. "You don't always understand why a court feels the way they feel, in terms of how they rule, but the next step is just to remain strong, and continue forward."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, "We agree with the ruling," since they believe Spruill is guilty of the murder.

Spruill's biggest fear, though, is not his conscience.

"Dying in prison," he said.

Spruill also continues to battle with a medical condition that causes tumors in his brain, which have affected his vision.


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