Wrongly convicted man speaks out
NEW YORK (WABC) -- He is an innocent man who spent 11 years of his life behind bars. Now, he has $2 million in his pocket and apology money from the state of New York.
Important to point out here that the $2 million dollars is taxpayers money - your money - being spent because Bronx prosecutors put the wrong man in prison. What's even more disturbing, there is evidence the DA's office had information years ago about the real killer and did nothing about it.
"I mean, of course this sounds like a lot, even if they would have gave me 20 million, it's not worth 11 years," Michael Clancy said.
Clancy, now 38, says he would gladly trade the numbers on this check for the years he spent behind bars.
"You know, a lot of people think, like this is like if I hit the lotto. Like oh, wow. And I'm looking at people and it might seem like a reward to you, but it's know really a reward, it's basically right a wrong, you know," Clancy said.
When he first went to prison for 25 years to life, he says he remembers being told the possible maximum time he was facing for murder.
"And he said, well the maximum release date is: 9999999. Basically, there is no date," he said.
Clancy, an apprentice elevator mechanic with no criminal record, was charged with killing a man inside a Domino's pizza in the Bronx in 1997. He was released on bail in 2008 after a Judge threw out the murder conviction. A federal informant had told government prosecutors that Clancy was innocent and identified the real killer as a man named Andrew DeJesus. What's disturbing is that an Asst. U.S. Attorney claims in a sworn statement that he told the Bronx District Attorney that the office may be prosecuting the wrong individual.
"The Feds knew Clancy was innocent. The Bronx DA's office was told, you've got the wrong man, you have the wrong guy. The Bronx DA did not want to hear it," Ron Kuby, Clancy's attorney, said.
Ultimately, the DA's office decided not to retry Clancy, who has tried to pick up the pieces of his life. His wife divorced him when he was gone, but he is working to be a mechanic, and remarkably, has no regrets.
"I believe it bettered me in a way, so I can't sit here and complain because for 11 years I wasted my life. The last thing I want to do is waste more sulking and being upset and trying to point blame," he said.
The Bronx District Attorney's Office says it has no comment on the 2-million dollar settlement by the state. A spokesman says they are focused at this time on prosecuting Andrew Dejesus who has been indicted for the murder originally pinned on Clancy.
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