In the late 80s and early 90s, the crack epidemic was in full swing and one of New York's most powerful drug gangs was Lenny, and Nelson supported it as wild cowboys, a.k.a. the Redtop crew. Redtop referred to the color of the caps on their crack vials, and their less powerful competitors were called orange top, yellow, top. Yellow Top began selling out of an alleyway on Beekman Avenue in the Bronx, which was redtop territory by December 16th. Nineteen ninety one, in an incident that became known as the Quad Murders, Nelson Sepúlveda and three others rolled up with semiautomatics, indiscriminately spraying 60 bullets into the alleyway on Beakman, killing four and wounding one.
Detective Mark Tappan's was under intense pressure to bring order to the dangerous area, and he indicted 41 people as co-defendants for several drug related incidents, including the quad murders, taverns. The street sweep turned suspects into witnesses, and nine of the 41 indicted went to trial. Five of the co-defendants were blamed for the Quadratus, four of whom are innocent. And one of those poor souls is Danny Rickon. Alibi witnesses place Danny on the other side of a large city block at the time of the shooting, including a victim's mother and brother.
But the jury could not see through the trial circus atmosphere. Danny was convicted and sentenced to one hundred and fifty eight and a third to life. Glen Garber and Farrah Rossner from the Exoneration Initiative. Join Danny Rincón, calling it from Attica prison to tell us about the case that they built for Danny's freedom. This is wrongful conviction with Jason Pflaum. This episode is brought to you by Stand Together, Stand Together is a philanthropic community dedicated to helping people improve their lives.
For more than 20 years stand together and its partners have been on the front lines of criminal justice reform by empowering people to take action, supporting nonprofits and working with businesses. Stand together, tackles the root causes of problems in our communities and empowers those closest to the problems to drive solutions. Solutions like reducing unjust prison sentences to the first step act, empowering community based programs that help people re-enter society, and now working to bridge divides in our communities. To learn how you may get involved, visit.
Stand together again. Conviction. Let me tell you about a podcast that I'm addicted to, it's called Labyrinths and it is hosted by two of my favorite human beings. Might I call her my little sister, Amanda Knox, and her partner, Christopher Robinson. If you're like me, you're navigating your own personal maze. I mean, life, it takes you down these winding paths, dead ends. Short cuts in Amanda and Christopher delve into stories of getting lost and found again through compassionate interviews.
But much more than that philosophical rant, playful, really entertaining debate with fascinating people and I mean really amazing people. Season one features interviews with Andrew Young, Malcolm Gladwell, Jon Ronson, Dave Navarro. I mean, LeVar Burton expect to arrive at unexpected places when you listen. Check it out. Labrador's wherever you get your podcasts.
This is a prepaid collect call from an inmate at New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. This call is subject to recording and monitoring to accept charges. Press one. Thank you for using Securus. You may start the conversation now.
Welcome back to Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom before I introduce Danny Rincon, who's calling in from prison where he's been for a very long time, where he doesn't belong. First, I'm going to introduce his legal team, Farah Rossner. Vera is an attorney with the Exoneration Initiative. Thank you for having us. And with us today as well is Glen Garber. And Glen has been responsible for a large number of exonerations as the founder and director of the exoneration initiative.
And it's so great that you're here and so great that you're working on Danny's case that I know that you'll be the first one to greet him when he gets out, because I know how much this case means to you. So, Glen Garber, welcome to Wrongful Conviction. Thank you, Jason. Happy to be here.
And Danny Rincón calling in from Attica. So, Danny, welcome to Wrongful Conviction. Thank you so much, Jason. Thank you for the opportunity. Danny is serving what I think a lot of people will agree is an absurd sentence. He's serving one hundred and fifty eight and a third years to life. But let's not start there. Let's start at the beginning. Danny, you grew up in Washington Heights in the height of the crack epidemic. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like?
It was certainly a volatile neighborhood, a troubled time in New York City. There was a, you know, war on drugs. It was a high crime and murder rate. Drugs were prevalent, particularly crack cocaine. And I'm not going to say that I am innocent of being involved in drugs, but I would never do what I am wrongly convicted of. You know, my parents were working people. My dad worked at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for 27 years.
My mom may she rest in peace. Excuse me, my mom. Work 33 years at a coal factory, and my parents work hard to provide for my brothers and me. My parents are still values in us and. I made a poor decision in those years to take to the streets. Which brought nothing but shame, embarrassment and humiliation of my parents and my family. But, you know, we were blessed in many ways because my parents provided and we had what we needed, my brothers and I and we went to school.
We had a great upbringing, despite the fact that we grew up in a poor neighborhood that was flooded and riddled with violence and drugs. But that was Washington Heights. In those days, the South Bronx was no different. You know, I ventured over to the South Bronx at the age of maybe 40, 50 years old. And what I saw there was not much different than what I've seen in my own neighborhood in Washington Heights, even for the violent insanity that was taking place in the South Bronx and Washington Heights, that whole section of the city in those days.
This was a particularly violent crime, though. This was a crime that became known as the quad murders.
So there were rival drug organizations at the time in the area in Haven. And there were three that we can discuss which were actually relevant to this incident. That was the Redtop organization, which is led by two brothers, Lenny and Nelson Psychomotor. And then there was another organization, the Orange Top, which Downey was affiliated with. And then there was the gang. Each of these organizations had a separate location where they would sell drugs. They had different people that worked for each of the groups.
They were stepping on each other's toes. They were fighting over territory. They were fighting repricing, pricing for each of the violence that they were selling, trying to undercut the other to take over some territory. So it was a drug war, so to speak, that was going on between these three organizations. This was not some small time drug dealing.
I mean, they were making between 10 and 20 million dollars a year, just the Redtop gang itself. Right.
The Seppo that is were sort of the drug kingpins, if you will. And they were the ones who were actually moving most of that area.
Beekman Avenue is a small street between St Mary's Park and 144 Street in the Bronx, New York. Lenny Sepulveda basically ruled Beekman Avenue with an iron fist. Levy, separate at the time of the murders, was in prison. A good friend of mine, Gerard, opened up a spot on Beekman Avenue and was selling yellow multiple. Vaida apparently took over while his brother Lenny was in prison and felt that her was encroaching on Beekman Avenue. So in an act of force or discipline or what have you, he decided to unleash these individuals, including himself, to shoot up this Kornet killing four people.
So what happens is, first of all, it's a freezing cold night. It was about 10, 15, 10, 20 on December 16th. And Nelson Sepúlveda, who was the architect of the quad murders, arrives on the scene with Francisco Madina or Freddy Krueger, a guy named Platen, who is Wilfredo de los Angeles. Tazo or Rafael Perez, an individual known as Crazy Ray converge and start opening fire into that alleyway at three forty eight Beekman Avenue.
These guys, two of them, jump out of a car to run up on foot. Nelson Sepultura, Wilfredo de los Angeles, Rafael Perez and a guy named Crazy Ray.
They Roll-Up spray the alleyway with 60 rounds from semiautomatics, wounding one person, Janice Brewington, and killing four Cynthia Casada, Emmanuel Vieira, one unidentified man, and Anthony Green. And Danny, you knew Anthony Green and his family, his brother Benjamin and his mother Irene. I mean, in fact, they're part of your alibi.
I mean, again, this is the mother and the brother of a victim. It just doesn't get more solid than that.
Right. What we learned later was that the shooter left the apartment of Tarabella and Brenda Blair on Beekman Avenue. So real Blair leaves his apartment and runs up to the Greens apartment to tell Benjamin that something's going to happen to his brother down on the block because these guys were leaving his apartment and he knew they were discussing Girot heard his brother and those individuals around yellow top there. So he was headed up there toward Benjamin to go get his brother out of the way because something was going to happen, brought Blair has refused to get involved in this matter for whatever his reasons are.
Can you tell us about that night? What were you actually doing that evening? I was on Cypress Avenue and building 317 apartment 1G while I was sitting in a bedroom talking to my brother may also rest in peace. He was incarcerated in Rikers Island at the time. He had made a phone call prior to me taking the call. I was inside of Apartment one, be in the adjacent building 354 Pensacola's apartment. While my brother and I were on the phone.
I heard shooting and it appeared to me that the shooting was coming from right out front. I raised the shades. From the window and I see a girl standing right in front of the window by the name of Pamela Fortune, I bang on the window, I tell her, don't you hear those people shouting, get in the building. Moments later, within minutes, I'm getting ready to walk out the building. In the vestibule of the building, I run into Pam, Lena Patton, Irene Green, who's crying uncontrollably.
I know Irene Greene because she is the mother of two friends of mine, Benjamin Green and Anthony Green. She tells me that her boy got shot. I offered to help up to her apartment. Lilypad and pamphleteers said that they were going to take upstairs. So I took it to the front of the elevator and I left them there. I immediately walked outside. I noticed that Benjamin Green was standing in front of the building in my mind when she said my boy got shot, I thought that it was Benjamin because I knew at the time I was running the streets in those days, never had it occur to me that it was.
And so I approached Benjamin. I said to him, Hey, your mother doesn't seem well. You need to go in there, check on your mother. He tells me, my brother got shot. He goes in the building to assist his mother. I leave the neighborhood that night. The very next day, I was back on Cypress Avenue about seven eleven in the morning. And I see that the neighborhood is flooded with investigators and cops canvassing that whole entire area.
Yeah, I guess you would have a lot of investigators and a lot of pressure to get the killers off the streets or to get somebody just to make the pressure go away. Right. And I imagine that had a lot to do with how they ended up targeting you, right? Absolutely. What happened was pressure to make an arrest. In this case. It needed to have anything to happen.
This was a member of the fortieth precinct detective squad, and he had several open cases in the Haven area during that time. In ninety two, after the murders, he was assigned to the Bronx D office to help make the case in the court.
He was under a lot of pressure to close all of these cases. And so he used a lot of the same witnesses over and over again, sort of a witness for hire situation, if you will.
These witnesses would offer false testimony in exchange for money and reduced charges or sentences for their own crimes in the murder case. Many of the witnesses who used to implicate Danny and his co-defendants were members of the redtop, the rivals to Danny's orange tops and to those yellow tops who were the targets of the plot that all had a vested interest in Danny getting off the street. So there are more than willing to place on the scene. So let me give you an example.
In April of nineteen ninety two, Tavern's received a call from a woman named Elizabeth Morales, who, by the way, had worked for the Redtop organization, claimed that she and her family were in fear for their lives because the liberties were after them because they'd stolen drugs from them. So Elizabeth Morales said she needed help. And in exchange for that help, she told Tavern's conveniently that she could provide help and give them information on a lot of the violence that took place on Beekman Avenue.
So Tavern's remember, under so much pressure, he went immediately to the shelter where she and her three children were and started talking to them.
And she said that they could give the names of the alleged perpetrators of the con, as well as several other homicides that had taken place in the area over the time. So he calls them down to the DA's office and they give statements. Meanwhile, he's providing them protection. He's helping them to relocate to a motel. He gives them money for living expenses. And then he later moves into an apartment and starts to pay for their rent. So each of them happily gets a statement.
One of Elizabeth's daughters, Iris Cruz, what they used to call their little iris. She was fourteen years old at the time of the plot and she also was an employee of the Redtop. She can even read English at the time, but she signed a statement he handed her that she saw Danny from her fourth floor apartment window at the opposite end of DeQuan Avenue, which is where the alley was located. And she said she heard fireworks. So she leaned out of her window and looks down the road to a fire escape and so she can see what was going on.
Now, if you picture a city block, it's pretty long. She can see all the way down to the other end of the block in the dark because the lights have been blown out and can see that Danny sitting in a car shooting from the car. I mean, that sounds a little bit sketchy to me. Yeah, I know.
We'd like to actually go to that apartment. And I have a funny feeling we would know. Maybe you've already done that.
So we actually did do that, Jason. And we stood on the street and looked down the block. And there's absolutely no we did it in broad daylight.
There's no way in the dark of night you could see all the way down there we see cases like this over and over again where these witness statements are so easily proven to be not only false, but could not be true. It's a different category from false, right. Could not be true because you cannot see from where they said they were to where the thing took place. But that gets pretty easily glossed over in the course to these proceedings somehow.
And Elizabeth Morales also had a son named Joey Morales, who was 13 at the time of the quad, and he allegedly saw the shooting as well. And he, by the way, was a witness in six other cases in which Tegan's was the detective.
Let me tell you some. About the incredible Joy Moralez, Joy Moralez claims that he went to buy a gallon of milk at ten thirty in the evening and witnessed the murders. In another case, he went to buy milk at three thirty in the morning and witnessed a guy by the name of Rashid Rice and Angel Quinonez commit a robbery at a murder at three thirty in the morning that his mother sent him to go buy some milk. In another matter I.
Fraziers case, the incredible joy Morales claims that he left his house to go hang out in the neighborhood at four in the afternoon and wandered the neighborhood to six o'clock in the morning without going home. 13 year old kid wandered that neighborhood in those years to six o'clock in the morning. We're at five thirty in the morning. He allegedly observed Mariam Fraizer commit a murder on 140 forty. But and these people were just so lucky that they have to witness one murder after another.
That sounds like some scarsella type of stuff. It seems that evidence percent of the one in the same. When did you get arrested? It was almost a summer day, like it was June six, 1992. I was on the same street that I was on the night of the murders of Cyprus Avenue. As I look up and see what happened and he tells me that he needed to talk to me and I said to talk to me about what he said.
Well, somebody said you robbed them. When I get to the priest and he tells me that I'm there for Beniamino. What do you mean when you said we got information that you was driving the car the night of the murder, that they make it possible it's 30, 40 people that could tell you I was on Cyprus Avenue that evening. That's impossible. I was process. I was taken down to central booking and charged with killing four people and wounding someone else.
And I were probably glad to be believed. The bill was set at one hundred thousand dollars.
That's kind of low bail for someone who they think committed this horrific crime, isn't it?
I was able to get bailed out because Benjamin Green and his mother, Irene Green, were at my arraignment. And as you know, Benjamin is the brother. Irene is the mother of one of the deceased, Anthony Green. And so this statement was to open statement that I was on Cypress Avenue in their building and that I assisted her that evening, that I could have been involved. The judge, I guess, took that in consideration and granted me the bail.
Even while I was out on bail, I visited the green house.
So how long were you out before the trial? So I got arrested in 92. I got out on bail. I initially started trial in the Bronx. Well, at least the co-defendants did. And I were probably a Supreme Court justice in the process of granting me the bail. By the way, I recall Obermann did not believe that I was guilty of these murders. He's told the prosecution at a hearing. He said that he's seen the evidence the prosecution has and he's not persuaded that I am guilty of these murders.
And for those reasons, he's going to separate my case from that of the co-defendants. He said the co-defendants will go on trial first. And Mr. Rinka, because he is out on bail, he'll go on trial because that's never happened. Obviously, he was indicted in the superseding indictment in New York County. All the charges were later dismissed in the Bronx and reindicted in New York County. If I was remanded by Snyder and that was in ninety three at the trial, that is thought to a year later, we went before Snyder and Leslie Crocker.
Schneider was an animal judge. I mean, she was notorious for doling out the harshest of sentences and wrote the book Twenty Five to Life, which focused on the wild cowboys.
Yes, she was notorious.
Little did anyone know that this tough judge would not be down. His biggest problem. It's important to note that in November of ninety three, they found an indictment with forty one defendants, co-defendants, and they called it the wild cowboy trial. But it was like all the crimes that had taken place in that area. So there was a big blanket of an indictment that they issued and oh, that the murder is just one of them. And thirty two of those individuals of the forty one pled out, they said guilty and nine, Danny, being one of them, proceeded to go to trial.
And under those, five of them were convicted of the crime.
I can tell you that the wrong people that they focused on were Stanley Tookie, Russell Harris, Daniel Gonzalez and Daniel Ringtone. And those people are all innocent. By the way, in addition to Daniel Lincoln, there was one guy, Wilfredo de los Angeles, who we believe was an actual perpetrator of the quad. But the theory that they went with him was clearly wrong.
How did they come to land? All five of them. Yeah. So the prosecution came up with this theory that Orange Top teamed up with Redtop in an effort to offer Yellow Top, which was totally false. And in fact, Red Top and Orange Top did not get along and red top and put a hit out. We actually shot Danny in 1990.
I was the subject of a similar shooting at the hands of Lenny, separated, where I was shot six times on that same corner where the what happened just a year before for the same reasons, because I was associated with officer, as we know that the murders happened on December 16, 1991. Two weeks later, I held a religious party at Cypress Avenue. I invited the whole yellow top crew, Gibralter Benjamin Green, whose brother had just been killed two weeks earlier, was at a party with me.
So, you know, it just defies logic that, you know, I would try to ambush these guys and then be cordial with them two weeks later. But ironically, the people that were actually now known to be responsible for the plot were not president or invited to the party. And as I said, it defies logic.
So there was really a clear divide between red top and orange top. But the prosecution just blew through that because they needed to join them for their case.
So you end up a trial. And how did that whole thing play out?
So the trial began in 1994, September ninety, 94. But I never, for the life of me, believe that the plot was something that. Picked it up for many reasons. The alleged witnesses stories all over the place, you know, their narratives changed from one cell into the next. And I knew that there was just so many people that can place me on Cypress Avenue. But as the trial moved along, I realized that the way Snyder was pushing this trial forward and the way she was denying stuff, you know, my hopes dwindled more and more that I can get a fair trial in front of this woman.
And so the witnesses got up on the stand and they all testified. And one after the other, the lawyers tried their best to try to show that these witnesses were all lying for a favor and providing testimony and to try to get leniency for the prosecutor's office or for whatever reason. But I predominantly wanted to hear the truth regardless, because I know I didn't know these people. I knew that we weren't friends. I knew that these people were lying.
And I just knew that at some point, you know, it's going to come out this is going to come out during this trial that these people did not witness this and these people just implicating individuals here wrongfully. That was my aspiration, but it did play out that way. They testified they gave the conflicting narratives that they gave and the jury still accepted it. But I believe that the jury accepted the narrative that these witnesses provided simply because the way the trial was, how they sat in this courtroom, eight individuals at a defense table.
So try to picture these guys in your mind. There's three defense attorneys. There's an armed type of court officers and investigators and police all surrounding the courtroom media all over the place. There's eight defense attorneys. A couple of the defense attorneys had either paralegal or second chair. And there's just this big show going on about how these guys were one of the worst groups of individuals that committed all these heinous acts during the course of seven years.
It sounds like a circus. I mean, with that many people, how could you even begin to present a cohesive defense?
It's very unusual that they would do more than five defendants together in a trial. Anything over five becomes super unwieldy. And this was way beyond that. It was a circus.
And the jury not hearing from any of the defendants in their mind, must have said that they were all guilty. They all did it. Why are they getting up there and defending themselves? I wanted to testify.
I was prepared to tell this jury, look, I was on Cyprus Avenue and Irene Green and Benjamin Green had provided information to Donald Tucker, Danny's lawyer, about that alibi. Donald Tucker failed to do anything with that alibi, investigated further and put on alibi witnesses on Danny's behalf.
The lawyer, David Tonko, at the time, who was disbarred, by the way, six months, seven months after my trial, told me that if I force any witness to come into the courtroom to testify that doesn't want to testify. Whenever I needed them to testify, they will testify for me. And I was explained to that if I do testify, I would not be in my best interest. So I decided to not to testify, which I think is one of the worst mistakes I've made in my life.
But the trial was a farce.
You have a circus trial with an impossible number of people at the defense table in and around, defendants, lawyers, paralegals. You had a lawyer who was on his way to being disbarred. But the moment, the moment when you were convicted, what was that like? I got to tell you that it was probably one of the worst days of my life, I mean, absent my mother's passing and my brother, I think that that was one of the most worst days of my life.
You know, I sat there and looked at I stared at the jury like a blank stare. And I'm trying to. Just makes sense of how they come to the conclusion that I was guilty of the plot. The reason we sat there was because of that quad murder and I knew I wasn't guilty. I never, never, never would have imagined that he would. Is 28 years later and I'm still sitting here. I knew that at some point I said to myself, you know.
Benjamin Green's family will come forward and Fortune will come forward. So these people are not responsible for this. They can bear witness to the fact that I didn't do this and. That day has come. You got sent to prison on the day of sentencing, I was taken up to downstate from the pulpit, I didn't make it back to Rikers Island. I was processed in downstate. Within the next three days, I was on a bus headed towards western New York.
I found myself in when the correctional facility. I stayed at Wendie for about roughly 70 days. I had an opportunity at least to see my mother. My mother tracked me down and made her way up there. And I saw my mother and they after 70, some days later, I found myself where I am today at Attica Correctional Facility. And I'm looking for a familiar face. And I run into Derrick Hamilton, who I had known from Rikers Island and who actually was a friend of my brother recipe's.
So I think Derrick and he told me, listen, you've got to go to the law library. But back then I didn't have a clue of what the law library was or what the law library was going to do for me. And I just didn't go. So five years later, I leave Attica. I find myself at Greenhaven. I decided that I needed to go to the law library because it was offering a legal research class and I ended up getting a legal research certificate.
Almost four years later, I leave Greenhaven and I find myself in Auburn and I run into a good friend of mine named Chewbacca, who introduced me to other individuals that are working in the law library doing things that were constructive. And I just made a decision that that's what I was going to do, that I had to teach myself how to research, understand how to seek evidence, obtained evidence and present. I finally get a job in the law library around 2007, 2008, and then another guy comes into the library that I had the privilege to meet.
Then Nelson Cruz talking about his case. He was talking about how he had a wrongful conviction and he had actually an officer who could substantiate that he was not the shooter in his case. Law behoved. Darrell Hamilton arrived to the facility, but he said the shoot now and he sent me a message because he heard that I was a crook in the law library. And so that would get down to the law library. Now, we all together, we were all wrongfully convicted because we were all arguing, actually witnesses within the group, the AIPAC action, which a team.
So what we would do is brainstorm different cases. One of the cases that we brainstorm was Henry Davis, who was a Supreme Court case where the guy was convicted wrongfully, we believe, as well, for shooting a police officer down in Georgia somewhere. And interestingly, in the decision, one of the judge stated was that the guy had some alibi witnesses who weren't given the opportunity to testify. They should be afforded that opportunity. And when I read that, that kind of like gave me energy, gave me hope that the witnesses that I have that in place, me on hypersomnia, had been given that opportunity to testify and should be given that opportunity to testify.
So Danny actually had a number of post conviction motions after he got sentenced to one hundred and fifty eight, the third to life, and the first motion was a Brady violation, the suppression of exculpatory evidence, which he lost. It was another one that was brought based on Leslie Crocker. Snyder failed to recuse herself because she had conflicts associated with the case. They lost that there was a habeas corpus petition brought in federal court based on the theory of prosecution, which was that it was one single conspiracy, which was the red top, orange top combined, when in reality was multiple conspiracies.
They lost that vote during those years. You know, the people that I would write frequently, right, was Glenn Garber, John Elstein, Ron Kuby, pleading with them to help me with my situation. But unbeknownst to me, there was an attorney who believed in my innocence with David Tigran David Ghosty, who were actually speaking to Glenn for me, David Trauger, who was the lawyer for Rafael Perez and was co counsel to Donald Tucker, Danny's lawyer, came to me and said, you've got to get involved in Danny's case.
We actually went meon David Tower up to see Tazo, Rafael Perez to talk to him because David was saying that Danny was innocent.
And the affidavit that Tasos signed came about either when I went with him or maybe shortly thereafter.
But in any event, in 2014, I teamed up with two other lawyers to do what was a very substantive post conviction motion of also called a 440 motion. And the lawyers were Jonathan Adelstein and Patrick Joyce. And in that motion in 2014, we had an affidavit from Rafael Perez Tazo who came forward and said that he was a shooter in the quad murder. Now, mind you, Tazo was not one of the prosecution defendants for the quad murder. He was actually at that joint trial.
But the prosecution did not claim he was associated in any way with the quad shooting. But it turns out that Tazo was a shooter and Francisco Medina also came forward, a.k.a. Freddy Krueger. And he also signed an affidavit and said that he was a shooter in the quad murder. Also somebody the prosecution did not target as a defendant for the quad murder.
I also want to put something on that I think is very interesting. In 1995, there was an individual by the name of Raul Vargas, who was indicted by federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York, along with several others. They charged 70 murders. Freddy Krueger, who was actually one of the participants in this car, was charged in that indictment as well. In 1995, the federal government had yet to declare whether or not there was going to seek the death penalty.
In that case, was it decided to become a federal cooperator in 1995. He admits to the federal government that he was involved in the quadrotor.
And in that trial, Raul Vargas testified about being the driver and being in the neighborhood and around the corner when the shooting took place and was aware of the details of it and knew that Freddy Krueger was involved, knew that Taza was involved, knew that Nelson Sepúlveda was involved, and knew that Platanos was also involved and says that Danny had nothing to do with the quad murder. So we had those three people who were all involved in the quad murder, all people the prosecution did not target as defendants in the quad murder.
And they came forward and they said unequivocally that Danny was not involved. That really should have been enough to get either an exoneration or a hearing where they could have testified in front of the court and the court could have heard from them. The judge actually denied us even a hearing on that motion. There was other things also that were raised in that motion that were very powerful. There were six alibi witnesses that came forward. And just to hearken back to what Danny was saying a bit, those were witnesses that placed him at that apartment, one on Cyprus Avenue over a block and a half away from where the quad murder took place at the time that the shooting occurred.
And those witnesses prepared affidavits and we filed those with our 440 motion as well. Some interesting features also is David Trauger wrote an affidavit and said that Tazo, Rafael Perez had been telling him all along from the beginning that he was involved in the quad murders and that Danny was innocent. But David Tower couldn't reveal that information because he was defending Tazo and he obviously couldn't raise that information and implicate him on something that client did that he wasn't charged with. But Tazo ultimately allowed David Talgo to come forward with.
This information, because justice demanded it, and that gives you a sense of why David Torgeir was up in arms about this, the fact that Danny was erroneously placed in the quad murders not only during the trial, but also afterwards, the why he came to me and why he's so adamant that this injustice happened that Danny needed to be exonerated. David Goldstein also filled out an affidavit that was submitted in that 440 motion and talked about Donald Tucker, who was Danny's lawyer, and said that he had revealed to Tucker that there was an alibi and Irene Green and Benjamin Green had provided information to him about that alibi.
And Donald Tucker never brought that evidence forward. And one of the claims in that 440 motion, by the way, was ineffective assistance of counsel for Tucker. Failure to do anything with that alibi and investigated further and put on alibi witnesses on Danny's behalf. So unfortunately, two thousand fifteen, Judge Fitzgerald, who got assigned to the case, wrote a very bad decision, denying us on all grounds and not even giving us our day in court. And that's what we're basically at now where we're continuing our investigation.
We're trying to shore up additional aspects of the alibi. We're looking into tavern's. And we're at a place right now where we're trying to get them back into court with new stuff.
And I think one of the most important parts of this whole case is the targeting of Danny, basically to get him off the street. And I think the witnesses they've used, I mean, the judge never seemed to acknowledge the fact that all of these people had a vested interest in having him put away. And that was something that just was never brought to light. And I think that that's sort of our goal going forward is to show that they all had a motive.
We have people with no incentive to lie that have cleared him. So I think we just need to sort of pass on the facts and separate them chronologically and logically to see why we're in this situation. It just doesn't make any sense.
It just doesn't make any frickin sense. And so many of the people that Danny referenced are people that we've had on the show, people that I consider to be friends. And most of them have been exonerated by now or at a minimum, freed, and yet he continues to go on. Danny, I mean, what a what an inspirational guy you are. You were convicted of a horrible crime that you didn't commit. The killers were allowed to remain free and New York City suffered as a result.
Taxpayers continue to pay for your wrongful incarceration and you continue to pay with your very life. And all of it is something that should outrage everybody of good conscience. So the good news is we're here. We're shining a light on it.
We have Glenn and Farrah and a whole team of people. And I think hopefully we'll build a new legion of people with some of the information that we've shared today. And how can people get involved?
First of all, they can write letters to the Manhattan district attorney's office to Cy Vance Jr. and ask that they be sent to the integrity unit and that they re-evaluate the case. We went to the integrity unit, by the way, and they didn't give a shit. They can go to their local government representatives in their districts and they could say that this is a case that bothers them and ask those people to get involved and maybe write letters to the DA's office on their behalf.
There's also a petition that you can sign on change, dawg. So please scroll down to the bayou and get involved. Now we turn to the portion of the show we call closing arguments. First of all, I think our distinguished guests, all three of you for our roster. Thanks again for being here. Thanks for having us, Jason. Thank you. And Clonan Garber.
My pleasure. And I'm glad that you're featuring this case. We really appreciate it. And of course, Danny, you know, we're going to get to you last because that's how closing arguments works here. The show is that we always save the best for last. And but first of all, like I said, I just want to thank you for for being here. Thank you so much. And we're going to keep fighting for you. So now closing arguments is where I turn my microphone off.
I kick back in my chair and I ask each of you to share your final thoughts with our audience.
First of all, thank you so much for having us. And thank you for taking the time to hear Danny's story and getting to know him and letting as many people as possible hear about the injustice he has suffered. Already spent twenty five years in prison for a crime he did not commit. As you've heard, there's so much evidence supporting his claim of innocence from the statements of the actual perpetrators of the crime to the people who were with him at the exact time of the shooting.
It's clear that he was not near or in the alley when the shooting occurred. In fact, he was on the phone with his brother, who was incarcerated. At the moment, the shots were fired and he ran to see what had happened to his friends to come inside. And then he saw the mother of one of the victims and actually hugged, consoled her. These six people have signed affidavits stating that Danny was with them when the shots were fired.
They all signed statements saying that he did not commit the murder he had. The misfortune of having a lawyer who did not call these witnesses his alibi witnesses at trial, despite his repeated requests, he also had the misfortune of being tried in front of a judge who was predisposed to not liking him. As we later found out in a book she authored after the trial, with no evidence, she blamed him and his co-defendants for death threats. She and her family received during the trial he had the misfortune of being targeted by detectives who was determined to close his cases as quickly as possible.
And as we've discussed, we have concerns about the detective's use of witnesses in this case. And I found a pattern of misusing the same witnesses over and over. He's made promises to those witnesses and they often received reduced penalties for their own crimes in exchange for their false testimony. Most of these witnesses were members of the rival organization, and they had no interest in getting them off the street. So Glenn and I are really committed to helping him uncover the truth in this case and giving Danny, as well as the families of the victims, the justice they deserve.
So this case is a debacle of justice and there's exceptionally strong evidence of innocence that normally would be enough to at least get an evidentiary hearing to be able to open the door to the court and establish through live testimony the exonerating evidence. And we unfortunately had a judge who didn't care when we brought the evidence forward in our post conviction motion in 2014.
The decision that the judge wrote was basically focusing on non substantive matters to deny us even the hearing that we needed to establish Danny's innocence.
We are hopeful that maybe with a new D.A. in Manhattan or with additional evidence, which we're developing right now and getting back into court, we will get a fair hearing if we have to go that far and we'll get a judge who's actually going to care and hear the evidence, because we do think that once we ultimately get our day in court, what we can bring those witnesses forward, those true killers who actually admit to the crime and the alibi witnesses who've never been heard by a fact finder.
Once we're able to bring those forward in a fair environment, we're optimistic that Danny is finally going to get exonerated. Amen.
And now, Danny, over to you for closing arguments. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity. I want to thank Glen Garber for the exoneration initiative, for giving me this opportunity, for believing in my innocence, but not giving up on me while I fight for my life. You know, this is a difficult situation. Being in prison is hard enough with being in prison for a crime that you did to me and do a life for a crime that you didn't commit.
And you know that you look in the mirror every morning and you don't have a date to be released from this house. It's pretty it's a pretty hard pill to swallow. You know, it weighs on my conscience. It makes me make bad decisions at times. It makes me lose my temper. And, you know, it touches my faith. It touches my my mental fortitude. It really doesn't, um. I mean, it affects a lot of other aspects of my life and my personal relationship with my family and friends.
And it's just not right.
And I know that most of the decisions that I make obviously are influenced by this incarceration. But my aim is to prove that ultimately one day that I commit this crime and there is more than enough evidence to substantiate the fact that I think the biggest crime and I would urge those who have that evidence to come forward, come forward and provide that evidence. You know, think about what it would be for you to sit in prison for 20 years, for a crime to think about what it would be for a relative of your brother or sister, sibling, anybody that you may know that closely used to sit in prison for 28 years knowing that that person is innocent.
What? That person. What are the ways around it? That's not that's not an easy thing. It's not fair. I don't think it's fair on anybody. That's something that anybody should go through. And, you know, this is a difficult system. The justice system is not just the justice system is about who has the wherewithal to navigate the system. If you have the money, you can locate what you want and need. It appears to be in the system.
But if you have the evidence, you know, the system for some reason tends to undermine and look for ways to discredit the evidence, something that I faced in 2014 when a motion was filed on my behalf based on actual innocence and a judge by the name of Daniel Fitzgerald undermined the evidence, overlook the fact that I was sent in prison for a crime he didn't commit and did away with me, you know, and that was wrong. And for those reasons, among others, I fight as hard as I fight to prove that I belong around my family and friends and not in prison to rot away for something that I didn't do.
Don't forget to give us a fantastic review. Wherever you get your podcasts, it really helps. And I'm a proud donor to the Innocence Project and I really hope you'll join me in supporting this very important cause and helping to prevent future wrongful convictions. Go to Innocence Project, Doug, to learn how to donate and get involved, I'd like to thank our production team, Connor Hall and Kevin Awards. The music on the show is by three time Oscar nominated composer J.
Ralph. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at wrongful conviction and on Facebook at Wrongful Conviction podcast. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Pflum is a production and law but for good podcast in association with Signal Company No. One. For NPR ex.