Excerpts from the Innocence Project
Byron Halsey, who narrowly escaped the death penalty when he was convicted in 1988 of the brutal sexual assault and murders of two young children in New Jersey, was fully exonerated today [July 9, 2007] based on DNA evidence that proves his innocence. Halsey’s conviction was vacated on May 15, and at a hearing today the Union County District Attorney’s Office dismissed pending indictments against Halsey because he is innocent.
Halsey is the 205th person nationwide – and the fifth in New Jersey – exonerated based on DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project, which represents Halsey.
"Byron Halsey has waited 22 years for this day. For 22 years, he has waited to walk into court and have prosecutors and the judge acknowledge what he always knew but what nobody would believe – that he is innocent," said Vanessa Potkin, Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. "Byron can now begin the long, slow, difficult process of rebuilding his life. We hope the community will continue to embrace and support him, and we hope the state compensates him promptly and appropriately for the unimaginable ordeal he has endured."
Halsey's conviction was overturned in May of this year and he was released from prison. However, he still had to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, pending the State's decision whether to retry him. Today, the bracelet came off, and Halsey is finally a free man.