Prison Cell

A 69-year-old man from Connecticut was released on Friday after being wrongly incarcerated for 26 years. According to the judge who ordered his release, the mentally disabled man was deprived of having the fair trial he deserved. When the judge ordered his release on $25,000 bail, a crowd of supporters in the courtroom cheered the news. Many of the supporters had campaigned for over 20 years to secure the man's release.

In 1989, the man confessed that he raped and killed the grandmother of his wife. In 1992, he was sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison without the opportunity for parole. However, last month, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that his confession was made under duress and he was denied a fair trial because the prosecution failed to present evidence in support of the man's alibi.

Will He Be Freed or Tried Again?

Now, the man has been released on bail and he will either be set completely free or tried again a second time. Prosecutors have yet to decide if they will follow through with another trial. The man's next hearing has been scheduled for May 15.

The man looked frail during his court appearance on Friday. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit, thick eyeglasses and shackles. He was shaking as he sipped water from a cup. According to his advocates and attorneys, the man's disabilities prevented him from being able to commit the crimes they accused him of. The man suffers from severe physical and intellectual impairments caused by Dandy-Walker syndrome.

Confession Was Forced from the Man, Attorneys Say

His attorneys say that he confessed to the rape and murder of the elderly woman following 10 hours of interrogation. His advocates say that he was pressured and railroaded into offering the confession to the point that the mentally disabled man hardly understood what was going on.

His supporters said that they were ecstatic over their criminal law victory. They described the man's incarceration as a travesty of justice. Indeed, perhaps it was. There are specific laws that govern the confessions of criminal defendants, and confessions that are pulled from defendants who are in a state of duress and being subjected to stressful, confusing interrogations are commonly thrown out as evidence in criminal court proceedings.