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Get started today at UMG Dot Edu podcast. We, the jury, find the defendant guilty. You actually think that they read the wrong verdict. You feel so alone and hopeless. It's like a shot in the chest.
Despair to hope, darkness to light. Tonight, a fight for freedom in the shadow of justice.
Life was cheap that night in New York, two brutal murders just a half mile apart here for a homicide crime scene. Six people were convicted, including Eric. Listen, do you think the system works and we're going to beat this? We didn't. Then divine intervention through a nun he called grandma, say grandma.
I think this all happening for a reason.
He had been behind bars for nearly two decades, lost his last appeal mainly, and none could help him get into heaven. But could she help him get out of prison?
What she helped him do was get a lawyer. And together they hunted for the truth. This is one case that kept me up at night for six years. He says, I know you're innocent. I know the guys who committed this crime tonight will justice finally arrives.
This is my wall of hope. Everyone here has been unjustly convicted and. Three, I'm Lester Holt and this is Dateline. Here's Josh Mankiewicz. And Sing Sing Correctional Facility, the maximum security prison in New York.
This is the big house home to some of the worst of the worst killers, rapists, drug dealers and kids.
It is not where you'd expect to find this gentle woman in Sing Sing. They call me Grandma.
Grandma is Sister Joanna Chan, Maryknoll nun. I began working in Sing Sing more than 12 years ago.
This is the battle about General Grandma volunteers at the prison working with inmates in a theater program. She even teaches them Chinese medicine, water Boschi, through the years, grandma has helped dozens of men, but she says this inmate here on stage, a convicted killer, has changed her. It is so brave watching him all these years.
I take such courage myself, watching him.
Sister Joanna remembers the first time she met this inmate. He was sitting alone eating. He said, My family sent me 30 pounds of food. So I said, your family must love you very much. And he said, yes, because they know I'm innocent. And that's how the whole story began.
A story that began with the unlikely friendship between a nun and a convicted killer would grow into a quest that would shake the faith of even those sworn to uphold the law.
I thought if he was innocent, God has to see him through.
So who is this convicted murderer? He is inmate nine seven eight seven oh eight eight thirty eight year old Eric Glisson. We first met him in the spring of 2012 when a Dateline producer working on a different story in SingSing met Eric in his cell. You're going to tell me he had been locked up for 18 years. We want to see what it's like to live in here and can the walls with my age. Eric told us he didn't belong here.
Story is, I've been unjustly convicted for a crime that I didn't commit. And from February 3rd of 1995 to the present day, I've been sitting in here lingering every day wondering whether this mistake would be corrected. We've heard that before, many times. But what if he was telling the truth? So over time, you get up here, we began visiting, Eric was looking ahead and listening to his story when I got arrested, I was always under an impression that people who are guilty actually go to jail.
I didn't believe that I would be convicted of a crime that I didn't do.
When police put the cuffs on him in 1985, Eric was 20 years old, the brand new father of a one week old baby girl. Since then, their only time together has been spent in Sing, Sing, Visiting Room.
I have a family who I love and who loves me, my daughter. I need to get on top and be a father.
Eric often shared his story with sister Joanna. Over time, she felt compelled to do something, anything for him. So she called the only lawyer she knew.
The first person I could think of was Mr. Peter Kraus. I trust her judgment.
To me, it was worth investing my time in attorney Peter Krause agreed to at least see if there was some truth to Eric story. But there was still one problem.
This is not the kind of law you normally practice. No, not at all. I'm a corporate lawyer. I do corporate litigation. I don't do criminal law. Charmain Chester is Peter's assistant.
This was also new territory for her.
You know, out of the blue. One day I get this call, you have a collect call from an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, OK?
Soon she found herself spending hours on the phone with the inmate. At first it was all, you know, business cases case. But, you know, by the time you talk to somebody every day, the personal things start to slip in friendship, friendship. In the meantime, her boss was checking out Eric's claims of innocence. Did you believe at the beginning, I'm not going to say I didn't disbelieve him.
I just I've been practicing law for a long time, OK?
And when people lie, they certainly color the truth. This is the man who was convicted of murdering someone. So, of course, I approached it with some skepticism.
But once Cross learned the facts, he agreed to take Eric's case at no charge, representing a man who didn't seem hardened by prison, but almost frightening.
It's terrifying because you could be walking in the yard and you could be be shamed. That's life in prison, a life he's lived for nearly two decades.
After the story, he was telling us, if true was as explosive as it was tragic. It turns out that the police and the district attorney had all the evidence at their disposal to. To solve this crime from the beginning, not only was Eric insisting he was wrongfully convicted, he said others were, to all of them, locked away for life, for the same crime. Five of other people, five other people was also convicted of this crime.
Six people, could all of them actually be innocent?
Time now is approximately 750 to find out. We'll go back almost two decades and take a hard look at how it all began.
Is it possible to get something so important, so wrong about so many people? When we come back, we investigate what the police did to find out what one witness really saw from her window the day of the murder. How the detectives could have decided to run with this still shocks me today. Within the walls of SingSing, a convicted murderer has convinced a nun and a corporate lawyer that there's been a terrible miscarriage of justice. Eric Gillison is in the 18th year of a 25 to life murder sentence.
He claims he's innocent, never been in prison before.
Now, what's it like to live in prison?
Is how 1732 a brutal killing of a FedEx recruiter is under investigation.
Eric Ellison's nightmare began on the night of January 18th, 1995. The New York City detectives lining this hallway in the Bronx were entering a crime scene as chilling as it was a bedroom. He had three pairs of handcuffs on her wrists. A sock was stuffed into her mouth. The victim's name was Denise Raymond. She was an executive with FedEx. Cops videoed the entire scene and anything that might seem important.
Detectives are mystified over the vicious killing of a successful executive. The case went to Detective Tom Aiello, a 20 year veteran. Aiello led a team of detectives who worked through the night knocking on doors and collecting evidence. Then, as the sun rose the next morning, some of those cops turned their attention to another murder, another bloody crime scene. This is the video police recorded of that second murder scene. It was seemingly unrelated, but just a half mile away in the same precinct.
Of course, this was a busy night for the murder business in the Bronx. Time now is approximately 750 a.m. on January 19th, 1995.
This time, a livery cab driver named Barthe Diop had been found slumped over his steering wheel, shot multiple times, the victim of an apparent robbery. The driver's money and cell phone were missing. The investigation of the cab drivers murder would be headed by 31 year old Detective Mike Donelly, who worked alongside Detective Maiello. The two detectives, Donnelly and Diallo, ended up putting their heads and their cases together, concluding the same group of several people committed both murders.
Did you know the other people? I know two of them. These are good friends of yours, acquaintances.
It's February 4th, 1995. One of those guys was 19 year old Michael Kosma, the first suspect arrested.
We have one thing to say, though. Mr. Collins said, I didn't do it. I wasn't there.
Eric was also questioned at the precinct where he adamantly denied knowing anything about either killing.
Please don't blame me for something I have not done. Why is this happening to me? I don't know what's going on. I just want to be with my daughter. If I knew what took place that night, if I knew who did anything, I would tell you I'm going to give you your rights one last time. So I tried to make a statement what detectives did not believe in.
Eric Glisson and five others were arrested for both murders.
Originally, you were charged with both murders with Denise Raymonde murder and the cab driver.
Yes, but by the time Eric went to trial, prosecutors dropped charges against him in the Denise Raymond case, citing lack of evidence.
So what evidence was there against him in the cab driver case is really pretty simple. There was a witness against him, her name Miriam. The virus told the cops she looked out her window and saw it all. Eric and the others smack in the middle of the cab driver robbery that ended in murder. Is it possible that Marion saw you commit a crime? No. Not any crime. I wasn't that bad blood between you and Marion. Yes, bad blood.
Eric says he had a brief sexual relationship with Miriam that did not end well.
You have a fling with a girl and then you just cut off abruptly.
And she may feel slightly slighted enough to make you a murder suspect. I guess so.
Whatever her motivation, the question is, how reliable was she as a witness? All these years later, Eric finally had someone to take another look at Miriam's story.
Attorney Peter Cross. There's no doubt that that this woman was lying.
I went out to the crime scene and she could not possibly have seen what she said occurred. So what could Miriam Tavaris really see?
Here's the problem with Mirriam story from that police video. We know this is where the cab came to rest, but we also know the shooting happened a couple of car lengths back, sort of where that red SUV is.
We know a man in that building called 911 one when he heard the shots and he said he saw only one person running away from the scene. Now, a couple of weeks later, Miriam Tavares comes forward. She lives in that building over there. Now, you're looking at me from just outside the window through which Miriam says she saw all of this happen. Now, this has to be easily 100 yards away. And she says she saw six people from the neighborhood commit the crime.
She says she heard what they said and she saw what they stole. And she said she saw all of it looking through this bathroom window.
The only problem is if you go back to where the shooting actually happened, it's pretty clear Miriam Tavares couldn't have seen anything at all, she said from a bathroom window.
She heard these conversations going on inside the car. I mean, it's just incredible testimony.
But what disturbed cross even more? Detective Donnally never looked at the crime scene from the perspective you just did. Wouldn't that sort of be standard operating procedure to check out what witnesses say?
You would think so. I think they got on a horse early on in this case and they rode that horse and they weren't going to change direction.
We wanted to speak with Miriam Tavares. She died of a drug overdose in 2002. Other than her testimony, there was no physical evidence, no forensics, no prints, nothing that tied Eric or the others to the cab drivers murder. Even so, Detectives Donnelly and Ayala went with what they had and closed both murder cases.
Within three weeks, they arrested their suspects and the Bronx district attorney tried them. In all, six people were convicted. We'll call them the Bronx, six, five man and a woman all set away facing twenty five to life. One of them was Eric Glisan. What's it like to hear that verdict, Ruth?
It's like it's like a shot in the chest. It's like your heart just just melts. Just dissolves.
You actually think that, you know, they they read the wrong verdict. This can't be true.
The NYPD was quite proud of Detectives Donnally and Aiello's work, so proud that five months after the arrests, the department allowed the detectives to be featured in New York magazine about how they amazingly crack the cases, how the detectives could have believed that and decided to run with this and send them to jail for the rest of their lives on the basis of this garbage.
It still shocks me today.
All these years later, Attorney Cross knew his opinion of the detective work in this case wasn't going to free Eric Glisson or anyone else.
I think the only kind of evidence that's going to sway a court is if we can point to who the real killers are.
That was quite a lot to hope for.
But from behind bars, Eric Allison was already on the trail. I got some documents and so I see this guy's name. Keep coming up.
A surprise visitor and an answered prayer. He said, I'm sorry. I know you're innocent. I know the guys who committed this crime.
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Lately, when I'm trying to fall asleep, I'm listening to Memoirs and Misinformation, the new novel by Jim Carrey, which is narrated by Jeff Daniels. What a reunion. It's kind of a weird fever dream of a book, but in the best way, there are thousands of titles for you to choose from. Try it out. I promise you, there's something for you on Audible to start your free 30 day trial visit audible dot com slash dateline or text Dateline to 500 500.
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These are the people we're calling the Bronx six, five men and a woman all convicted and sent away for 25 years to life for committing murder, all insisted they were innocent. We met one of them, Eric Glisson, in Sing Sing where? From behind bars. He'd been trying to get answers ever since he was locked up.
I've been fighting these people for years asking for documents which they denied me at every turn.
They're not going to convict me for something that I didn't do and just expect me to accept it. I'm going to fight to the end. And I'm a fighter. I die on my feet, not on my knees.
As the years passed. Eric took college courses offered by the prison. He learned about the law and fought his case.
How did he get that evidence in his possession?
The court denied all his appeals. I don't I'm I don't have any appeals left. Nothing. It was a lonely fight, and then in 2006, he met Sister Joanna Chan in one of the prison's programs, the woman he calls grandma.
Those particular dark time he was say grandma is really hot.
So, Grandma, I just lost my last appeal. I don't know what I'm going to do. And I always say, you know, let's keep the faith and let's go on pray. And I said, we have many, many sister praying with you. Sister Joanne and offered more than just her prayers. That's when she brought in Peter Cross, who was now fighting for Eric on the outside.
So you have Detective Donnelly is the officer assigned here with Eric as he's got a cross got up to speed to have any chance at having another day in court.
Eric knew he'd need powerful evidence, evidence of actual innocence. He started thinking if he and the other five co-defendants had nothing to do with the two murders, then who did?
After more than a decade of trying.
Finally, some of Eric's requests for documents in his case began trickling in.
I came across one document which had my name as well as my other co-defendants, but one name stood out. It was an individual who I found out was part of a game called Sex, Money, Murder.
Eric was on to an important lead sex, money, murder. Even veteran cops knew those three words meant danger. A notorious gang from The Sound of You section of the Bronx, 1997, October Sex, Money, Murder became my assignment.
Pete Facilely was an NYPD detective assigned to take down the gang.
This was all sex, money, murder territory. Yeah, we're in the heart of it. While Facility was investigating the gang, an informant told him details of a crime the gang members had committed.
There was a cab driver who had been killed in the vicinity of Saorview so forcefully went to the forty third precinct in the South Bronx to see if there was any truth to the story.
Early nineteen ninety eight walked in the precinct, went upstairs walking into the detective squad room. So you go in there and say, what about this murder? What do you know? What a murder.
Yeah, I want to know about a cab driver murder in Salviati area around Saorview if the response had nothing to fit that description.
But for Celie's informant insisted the murder did happen, Uttam only made one trip to the desert to me two and again came out saying, look, we have nothing that fits that description.
Is there any conceivable reason why the police wouldn't tell you the truth? Well, I thought about that. Kelly says the answer might be simple. As far as the NYPD was concerned, this homicide was solved, closed.
The detective may have looked only in the open homicide drawer and never bothered to even look to see if there was anything other than an unsolved homicide that fit that description.
And as far as you know, that was the end of it, right? Like I said, I moved on for soon, retired from the NYPD, not knowing six people had already been convicted.
In the meantime, Eric was stuck in prison. It wasn't until 2012, 14 years later, that he hit pay dirt and it came in the form of cell phone records. Remember, the cab driver cell phone had been stolen by whoever killed him. And I found hundreds of calls after his death.
The records showed the first call was made from the victim's phone minutes after the shooting. The numbers call traced back to relatives of two sex money murder gang members named Jose Rodriguez and Gilbert Vega.
Eric believed he finally had evidence showing who the real killers were.
It took me 16, 17 years to to get those two freedom of information. They were never provided to the defense.
Now, it turns out that the police and the district attorney had all the evidence at their disposal to solve this crime from the beginning.
So he wrote a letter to the U.S. attorney proclaiming his innocence and detailing the information he'd found out about the sex money murder gang. It was a Hail Mary pass. In an amazing stroke of luck, Eric's letter landed on this man's desk. His name John OMalley, an investigator for the U.S. attorney in New York. Days after reading Eric's letter, O'Malley made a personal trip to see Eric in SingSing.
Immediately, John O'Malley just stood up and he asked me, did you write this letter? And I said, yes. He shook my hand and he said, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for what he says. You know, I know you're innocent. When he said that, I said, What are you talking about? So he said, listen, I know the guys who committed this crime.
How did O'Malley know? It turns out O'Malley worked with Detective facilely on that gang case ten years earlier. And back then, those two gang members, Joseph and Gilbert, actually confessed the cab driver shooting to O'Malley. He said, When I read this letter, everything just came back to me from that day. I put it all together when these guys confessed to me.
O'Malley didn't want to appear on camera, but told us he also checked with the NYPD after getting those confessions back in 2002. And like detective forcefully before him, O'Malley was told there was no record of the crime. After getting Eric's letter in 2012, O'Malley addressed the court in a sworn affidavit stating that. Eric Glisson and the others were innocent of the cab driver shooting, armed with that kind of statement, you'd think Eric would be literally home free.
You'd be wrong.
Coming up, Eric Glisson isn't giving up.
This is my wall of hope. Everyone here has been unjustly convicted and free. Will his own picture ever be on it?
Tears welled up in my eyes. For the first time in his 18 years struggle to prove that he didn't pull a trigger. Eric Glisson finally had his hands on a smoking gun, an affidavit from a federal investigator saying Eric was innocent.
He asks me, do I have an attorney? And I told him, yeah. He says, I promise you, I will call this lawyer today.
So I was standing on line in the bank.
Peter Cross remembers that phone call Mr. O'Malley tells me, Peter, I'm with the U.S. attorney's office. We know your client is innocent. That was such an emotional moment for me. Like tears welled up in my eyes right in front of the teller.
I thank God every day for John O'Malley. When I looked in that man's eyes, you know, I seen a man who has integrity. I seen a man who who was honest.
O'Malley's affidavit was enough for the Bronx D.A. to reopen the case and to get in front of a judge. But that would take time. Two more months. But now at least Eric had reason to hope.
In his cell, he assembled a little photo gallery of others who'd been exonerated.
This is my wall of hope. Everyone here has been unjustly convicted and. On August 5th, 2012, Eric's lawyer goes to court. This is our first appearance to try to get the judgment vacated, Cross is joined by his assistant, Charmaine Chester.
By now, they've worked on Eric's case for six years.
I want to see him out. I told him the last time I went up to sing Sing, I said, I'm not visiting you here again. This is it.
Finally, Cross argues his case to the judge. My client has already spent 17 years plus in jail for a crime he has committed, but it doesn't go down like a Hollywood script.
Prosecutors do not admit there's been a terrible mistake.
I will be seeking an extension of time to answer those questions. How much of an extension of the people seeking this program or the 30 days another month?
Cross is frustrated. He told me they were starting their investigation in June looking into this matter. I was able to get my papers ready. It seems to me that another couple of weeks should be enough to get a response to the motion.
You've heard the saying that the wheels of justice grind slowly. Now you've got a front row seat.
We've been trying to put together facts and circumstances surrounding this now 15 year old trial, if it any point in time to make a determination. You're going to see the facts of the case translation, this isn't going to end today. Eric stays in prison, but two weeks later, Peter Cross heads to sing sing. Earlier that morning, he'd gotten a call from the DA's office and he has good news for Eric.
They received the call from the D.A. in the Bronx telling me that they were ready to make a deal.
I'm going up now to see Eric to talk to him about the conditions for his release.
Eric used to visits from his lawyer. Good to see you. And very used to keeping his own hopes up. You're put it on ice can actually get you out of the yard. Yeah, I was walking out running, jogging, so, you know, I wouldn't be coming up here.
Cross wants to make sure this sinks in, and so he slowly reveals the details.
I was very surprised today. Well, I got a call from Talty today saying that we have a proposal for you. The D.A. is now prepared to give you a conditional dismissal of the indictment and vacate the conviction today. So I can be today, but I'll be by the 13th, I think. So he's a believer. Has he said anything about the initial shock over all the fighting that we've done over these years? I don't know what to say right now.
But unfortunately for Eric, a month later, he's still behind bars, these people just don't want to let me go.
They want to continue to hold me and torture me. You know, the mental the mental trauma I'm going through right now, because it is I'm wondering whether, you know, they may renege on this agreement.
But as excruciating as these hours are, Eric shares with us something beyond that wall of hope that's helped him wake up.
Every morning there's a bench by the water.
And each time I go to the barbershop, I look at that bench and I wonder if I would be able to sit on it and look back up instead of looking down. And that's been one of my main goals while I was in. To sit on that bench as a free man coming up, will Eric listen, ever get to sit on that bench? He finally gets his day in court.
We have made a decision to take this unprecedented and exceptional step. When Dateline continues.
This bench outside SingSing is only a few hundred yards from the prison, but to Eric, it might as well be in China.
How many times you look at that bench every day and thinking, I'll be on there one day, I want to see what it looks like from their bench to the window, because all I know is what it looks like from their window to the bench.
Finally, on October 22nd, 2012, four months after a federal investigator vouched for Eric's innocence, his day in court has come. Eric's been transferred from Sing Sing and is waiting in a holding cell in the Bronx County Courthouse.
Apparently, the court officers were advised.
It's also been a long, painful road for lawyer Peter Cross.
This is one case that kept me up at night for six years because I knew we had to find really like the one I'm near to get him out of jail.
Eric walks into the courtroom four and five year, Eric with a happy one.
Standing next to him is Kathy Watkins, the only woman of the Bronx six.
Like Eric, she was tried only for the cab drivers murder. And in 1997, they went on trial together.
Eric says he doesn't know her now and didn't know her then.
When trial started, the officers was bringing us up to the court and one of the officers says, this is Watkins. And I said, yes, Kathy Watkins. And she said, Yeah, who are you? And I said, I'm IRA Glass. And she said, How were you involved in this? She says, I don't know how you have what was going on. And we both didn't know we was confused now.
Eighteen years later, Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chiri says her office believes there may have been an injustice, but only agrees to release Glisson and Watkins if they wear monitoring bracelets as the DA's office continues to investigate.
We have made a decision to take this unprecedented, as you know, judge, an exceptional step that we are going to consent to the conditional vacating of the conviction for these two defendants and the condition being that the defendants do wear those electronic monitoring bracelets.
All that's left now is for the judge to make it official. The record will reflect that the conditional vacating of the conviction as to Mr. Glisson and Mr. Watkins is granted and each defendant is released on their own recognizance.
Eric's friends and family and the news media are waiting for him outside, and now for the first time in nearly two decades, Eric Bellison is about to take his first steps as a free man. What's your emotion right now? This is a major, pivotal point in my life and I was taught, I persevered and with effort and determination, I'm standing here before you.
Now, it's his codefendant, Kathy Watkins. Tara. Also wrongfully convicted 17 years, almost 18, she was 29 when she went away for sure. Now she's 46 percent innocent in our justice system and it's all the way.
By January 2013, the convictions for the rest of the Bronx six were overturned for both the cab driver murder and FedEx executive Denise Raymond. This is Carlos Perez. Twenty five when he was locked up, I remember the president about 1995, Clinton, Bush out prison, Mr. President, were innocent, but nobody listened.
Devon Ayers, he was 19 when he was convicted.
I spent all my 20s and most of my 30s there. So I'm just trying to get on with life as I know it as today.
And Michael Kosma remember him.
We have one thing to say though. This because you said I didn't do it, I wasn't there. This is Michael today, 18 years later. Finally, someone believed him and, well, we now know those two gang members confessed to the cab driver murder, FedEx executive Denise Raymond's killer or killers have never been brought to justice.
We wanted to speak with someone from the NYPD or the Bronx district attorney's office, but both declined comment, citing the multiple civil suits that they now face as the Bronx. Six seek millions in damages against New York City. And those two detectives, Donnally and Diallo, who were portrayed as super sleuths back in 1995, are now both retired and didn't have anything to say to us.
But in court filings, attorneys for the city of New York deny that either detective threatened witnesses or falsified statements and point out that several juries heard the witness's testimony at the time and believed them. As for Eric, it's finally a new day at a new life, one full of amazing discoveries flown upside. It's upside down. Coming up, no prison bars, no prison guards and doors. He can open himself. Eric Allyson's first night of freedom in almost 20 years.
And a reunion with a woman who helped him win it. Oh, my God. Look at that. It's October 22nd, 2012. After living in a prison cell for 18 years, Eric Glisson is finally a free man. And we are by his side as he experiences all of it. Oh, I've seen this in the magazine 10 days. Eric's first few hours of freedom, though, are part exhilaration.
Hello. Part discovery. Hello. He's never actually used a cell phone with Cynthia.
Hello. Hello. I think it's upside down like this. Oh, hello.
Hi. Can you hear me now? Like the commercial. That was my first cell phone call. First cell phone call. His first meal, lamb chops first. Wow.
It's like jumping up out of a coffin and walking, you know, it's like being read your last rites and all of a sudden a miracle happens. Some doctor that just comes walks in the room and knows exactly how to how to how to resuscitate you. And you're back living again and you're back out in society and you're wondering, you know what, they accept you. Yeah, you see, on his first night of freedom, Eric's lawyer treats him to a hotel room right now, got akitas, a plastic card.
Wow. Oh, this is holy wow. Got to be at least a 46 inch TV, but. Why? You know how I used to sleep on a metal frame and now I'm on a comfortable bed, OK? But the real joy for Eric when you hear this defense is like this is reuniting with his daughter, Cynthia.
Ready to go? She was just a week old when he was arrested. Now she's nearly 18.
Don't get too excited. You cheated that you cheated.
And that degree he began working on behind bars. Eric started taking classes again two days after his release. And finally received that long awaited diploma from Mercy College. Today, a fully exonerated Eric Glisson is a businessman and entrepreneur. I'm basically doing everything single handedly, all of the reconstruction of the scene, and it's going to be four tables.
On the one year anniversary of his release, Eric opened a fresh juice business that he built himself named Fresh Take. Afternoon, sir. How are you doing? Nice place you have here. Thanks. Where'd you get fresh take? Well, I knew that I had a fresh take on life. I'm free now. I'm no longer the victim. I'm the victim. I won. You seem to have come through this remarkably free of bitterness and anger or you're hiding it very well.
Well, I don't have any animosity against anybody at this point except the people who go saw bellies and raise the prices because the is the primary thing is that's a crime. Yeah, it is a crime.
Eric has a business partner, someone he met when he was still locked up. He's become my brother.
It's Charmayne Chester, his lawyer's assistant.
I call him my bratty little brother, and I'm the annoying older sister.
They opened their store in late 2013. Eric says he loves it.
A pivotal point in my life. Have I ever done it? Gave me a lot of trouble with it.
On this day, we had a little surprise for him. He hasn't seen Sister Joanna Chan since he's been released. The woman who put Eric on a quest for freedom all those years ago, you know, working together collectively.
Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Oh. Oh, congratulations. Thank you. Oh, my God. They told me you were in China. I was.
Eric has now been a free man for more than seven years.
It's been rough. It's not the the walk into the sunset that everyone expects is events that took place in my life that will be with me forever. And I can't unshaped them. And he says he's not the only one who's been having a hard time, like especially with my daughter, Cynthia.
Our relationship has been strained and still since a lot of resentment of my absence for a major part of her life. But now there's a new person for whom Eric can be fully present. Cynthia has a new sister. Meet Baby Scarlet. I have a second chance to raise a daughter to be in her life to. Take it to the Paul. Horseback rides, you know, all the kisses and hopefully one day give a hand away in marriage, there's no price for that.
And what's the price for unjustly spending 18 years in prison? Eric and the rest of the Bronx six all filed lawsuits for their wrongful convictions.
The state and city of New York settled the cases and the Bronx six were awarded 12 million dollars each.
There was one last thing we wanted to do with Eric.
Remember that bench Eric could see from inside SingSing not too long after his release, we took him back there and watched him finally make good on that promise to himself. To get that other view of the prison, this time from the outside.
That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us. Hi, I'm Chuck Rosenberg. This season on my podcast, The Earth, I spoke with 10 remarkable public servants, men and women who sacrificed for the common good, who do things that are hard, like former National Security Council official Fiona Hill.
We can have a serious discussion about where we want the relationship with Russia to go, but we have to stop using Russia as part of our domestic politics. Civil rights activist Maya Wiley. When police officers are not protected, when they tell the truth, that creates a culture of silence that makes them accessories.
And Flight 15 49 pilot Captain Sully Sullenberger to know that we had been in the cockpit of that airliner over Manhattan at that low altitude when we had lost thrust on both engines with so few options. It was just astonishing.
Catch up on season three of the OK, with all 10 episodes now available, Search for the Truth, wherever you are listening right now to subscribe and hear all 10 episodes for free.