Tullie (Birdie) Hyman was convicted of murder in 2002, for shooting a tenant patrol leader in Queens, New York
Hyman regularly maintained that he is innocent and that he was falsely implicated in the shooting by the sole witness Shaquana Ellis.
A federal judge has tossed the conviction after the sole witness recanted her trial testimony.
Hyman is serving 21 years to life for the murder.
Tullie (Birdie) Hyman must be released from state prison within 90 days unless the Queens district attorney’s office decides to retry him for the murder of Maria Medina, who was hit by a stray bullet.
Hyman’s former lawyer had hired a private eye who determined it was impossible for Ellis to have seen what she claimed from the vantage point of a third-floor window, but the investigator did not testify at Hyman’s trial due to a fee dispute.
Shaquana Ellis, the sole witness whose testimony resulted in Hyman's conviction, admitted that she was threatened at gunpoint to finger Hyman.
Ellis testified at a hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court last December that she was threatened at gunpoint to finger Hyman as the shooter, but she could not identify who made the threat because she claimed he was wearing a bandana across his face.
“That night, me walking home, my life and my family’s life was threatened. I had no choice,” she testified.
The gunman “said if I didn’t point Tullie out (to the police) they were gonna come and kill me and my family."
She said she came forward because “I’ve been living with this lie for years, and I want the truth to be told.”
Wow! Having spent time for something you didn't do, can be quite sad.
Image Credits: NYS Department of Correction