A New Haven man found guilty of murder is now a free man after being incarcerated since 1999.
In a courtroom this afternoon, a marshal removed 39-year-old Marquis Jackson’s handcuffs and shackles. Shortly after the hearing during which the judge vacated his conviction, Jackson emerged from the New Haven County Courthouse to celebrate with his family supporters.
“It feels wonderful,” Jackson said. “It seems unreal.”
Jackson is the second man to have a felony conviction vacated for a 1999 murder and robbery at the Dixwell Deli in New Haven.
“We came in together,” Jackson said, “We leaving together, we never waiver on each other. Our friendship is strong no matter what through the times, we stuck together and never gave up.”
Convicted together in 2000 for the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Caprice hardy, Vernon Horn and Jackson have always maintained their innocence.
“This is a wonderful day for me, 19 years and coming, I always believed that I would be exonerated you know sometimes it was shaky but I kept the faith,” Jackson said.
In court, New Haven State’s Attorney Pat Griffin called today’s development a “necessary act.”
The reinvestigation of call records made from a cell phone stolen during the robbery found that Horn never had the phone and the state’s main trail witnesses were not truthful, attorneys said.
“I will say that the cell phone evidence that convicted these gentlemen has been called into question at best and has been deemed patently false,” Jackson’s attorney Daniel Lage told reporters. “And because of that cell phone evidence we now know where the locations of certain individuals were, those individuals were not Mr. Jackson nor Mr Horn.”
Jackson is now looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life.
“It’s very interesting because the same justice system that took my liberty gave it back,” he said, “so I’m bittersweet but unfortunately there are several other men who didn’t get the lucky break I did today.”
Jackson’s attorneys say they plan to file a wrongful conviction claim with the state. One of them told NBC Connecticut defendants with overturned convictions that served similar time behind bars have received settlements around $6 million.
Jackson said one of the first things he plans to do as a free man is go see the blockbuster hit, Black Panther.