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Johnny O’Neal (pictured), a man imprisoned for 14 years over a rape he didn’t commit, plans to sue for lost time, according to the NY Daily News.
In 1984, O’Neal was convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint atop the Fredrick Douglass Houses in Manhattan’s Upper West Side neighborhood.
Though he served his sentence and was released in 1998, it was only last month that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Marcy Khan threw out O’Neal’s charges due to a joint re-investigation by private attorneys, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and the Legal Aid Society, a non-profit legal services organization.
That re-opening of the case uncovered evidence that a man named Gregory Smith was the actual culprit, with Smith admitting to a mutual friend of O’Neal’s that he’d committed the crime — he’d also committed two other rapes.
Smith — who died 14 years ago — also used the same knife and jacket the victims described as belonging to O’Neal.
Understandably, O’Neal was elated at the news. “It made me so happy. I just cried and cried and cried,” O’Neal said Thursday. However, the happiness was short-lived.
O’Neal plans to file a lawsuit against “the people responsible” for his jail time.