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East New York is a notoriously tough Brooklyn neighborhood in the 70s, 80s and 90s, it had an equally corrupt local precinct, the seventy five or seventy fifth precinct, home to many of the wrongful convictions of notorious NYPD detectives Louis Scarsella and Steven Camil. On March twenty eight nineteen ninety eight, Nelson Cruz was out in the neighborhood with some friends celebrating his 17th birthday over Chinese food when they heard gunshots close by. So close, in fact, that they saw the police swoop in immediately to get the situation under control.


A police officer had seen the actual muzzle flash of the gun in Eduardo Rodriguez's hand. Trevor Veera, a man in his mid 20s known for stickups, was lying dead in the street. Rodriguez was brought in for questioning where Scarcella and Kamil turned what should have been an open and shut case into another horrific wrongful conviction with the false testimony of a man who didn't even know police were on scene to arrest Rodriguez. And in spite of the testimony of that uniformed police officer stating that Nelson Cruz was definitely not the shooter, Nelson was convicted and sentenced to twenty five years to life.


And if matters couldn't get any worse, despite a mountain of new exculpatory evidence, the judge who oversaw his most recent appeal suffers now from early onset Alzheimer's, which has impaired her ability to follow the case and set Nelson free. This is wrongful conviction with Jason Plower. You know, in order to support our show, we need the help of some great advertisers and we want to make sure those advertisers are ones you'll actually want to hear about. But we need to learn a little more about you in order to make that possible.


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You may start the conversation now. Welcome back to Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom. That's me. I'm your host. Today we have a deeply, deeply troubling situation to talk to you about today. We're on the phone with Nelson Cruz, an innocent man who's been in prison for twenty two years now in New York State. And I'm going to introduce now to you an attorney who have a tremendous amount of respect for who I'm proud to work with on a day to day basis on various cases, including this one.


Justin bonus. Welcome to wrongful conviction. Good morning, Jason. How are you? I'm all right, thanks. I'm glad to be here with you. And most of all, I'm glad to be here with the man of the hour, Nelson Cruz. Nelson, I'm sorry you have to be here under these circumstances, but I'm really glad you're here to tell your story. So welcome to wrongful conviction. Good morning, Jason. And which prison are you in now?


What correctional facility? Upstate New York. Can you take us back to that time?


I was handcuffed right at the time. It was a nice night and March 28, 1998. But they thank me and like three of my friends that we walked around the corner to the Chinese restaurant to purchase some food. And me and my friends were, you know, laughing and joking like we usually do. We stepped outside and shot the fire down the block on behalf and Pickett. And when I looked at seeing a police officer car pulling up immediately and was in the area under control.


And I think that they had a Spanish guy on the floor and it was arresting in the car. However, about 4:00 in the morning, Homicide contacted my mom, told my mother they wanted to interview me for a murder. And I was like, how can this be? I don't have anything to do with the situation. So my big brother said, we're going to get out of town. We're going to go down to the precinct. Don't go down there by herself because, you know, the 75 percent is thirty so far.


And on April 3rd, I turn to the precinct attorney and went to a lineup. And I've never seen a significant.


Justin, I want to turn to you because this case is the definition of an open and shut case. It should have never even been anywhere near Nelson or his family because they knew from day one exactly who did it. Can you explain what I'm talking about here?


This murder happens March twenty eight, nineteen ninety eight at eleven fifteen at the corner of Bradford and Picon, two cops in a patrol car. Officer William Petit actually watches the man with the ponytail who we later find out is Eduardo Rodriguez firing the gun, sees the muzzle flare towards Bradford and picking, which is where the deceased Trevor Rivera was found. Piety actually arrests. Eduardo Rodriguez tells him to drop the gun. And Officer Palmari chases a black man, I guess, who runs away.


These are what the two cops say at one thirty and one forty five in the morning when they're interviewed by none other than Detective Louis Scarcella and Detective Steven Kimmel. And just to tell you who those men are, I mean, they're probably some of the most storied police officers in the country when it comes to wrongful convictions in relation to homicides. And Louis Scarcella Camil shows up at the scene at eleven fifty five. They are totally involved with this case.


Scarcella and Camil are at the precinct with Rodriguez Rodriguez at around three o'clock in the morning or so, actually makes a statement. Another witness, William Johnson, who later testifies Nelson wasn't at the scene. He was an eyewitness arrested at the scene. He was interviewed, does not indicate anything about Nelson Cruz. So the first person to actually name Cruz is Eduardo Rodriguez. And then there was a third witness. His name is Andre Bellinger, who was interviewed at something around three forty five in the morning.


And he says Nelson as well. Nelson turns himself in on April 3rd. He's barely 17 years old. Mark Brooks runs the lineup. He is allegedly the lead investigator out of the seventy fifth because Steven Camil is the lead investigator for Brooklyn North. And how you understand the politics between Brooklyn North and the local precinct, says one detective from Brooklyn North would work with a precinct detective. So Steven Camil was the lead partner detective with Mark Brooks, who was the detective from the Seventy Fifth Precinct, and Louis Scarcella was Steven Camila's partner from Brooklyn North.


You know, so what we have happen is a lineup that's conducted and Andre Bellinger is the only witness that comes in to view the lineup.


So little does Nelson know he's going right into the eye of the storm here. You were living through this, a tenth grader. I mean, can you take us back to what you were thinking and feeling at that time, starting on the 3rd when you turn yourself in? Yes. So I go into the Priefer and I'm sitting down just waiting for the detectives to go look for some further Salana, some people on the staff want to see picked up smoking a cigar.


I'll never forget that he's smoking a cigar. He asked me, are you not scared to be here? I said, no, I won't be here. I committed this murder and shook her head. All right. After they got the fellow we wanted to clean up, I got kicked out of my office and my attorney explained to me, listen, they'll say nothing, Detective. The only thing that just want to say to them is your name and address.


So they kept me in the bullpen for a little while, for a couple hours, and they took me out the bullpen and then bring me right back into the locker room. And they cuffed me into like a little room. And I said, that brings a faith into the room. And he telling me, listen, we already know what happened to find it and he would be leaving. So I tell Scarcella I'm not finding anything. He gets a little frustrated.


So you got some mail trying to find a good coffee fathomless and just find it and you'll be walking out. We already know that. I tell them again, I'm not saying anything, but I get a little frustrated. Crumb The paper slaps me in the face of this. Again, he's telling me, you know, half hour before the paper, you, me. And I'm like, I'm not signing anything that left me a room for like a half hour and bringing me back into the bullpen.


And about maybe like an hour after that, they put me into the economy. And later on, when I get my voluntary disclosure form, I see that they put a DDR report and a statement that I made a spontaneous statement based on the fact that I got shot in my leg and I shot the guy and ran. And I'm looking that I'm calling my attorney. I never said any any of the three detectives never, ever said any of it.


And the statement that he attributes to Nelson is the same type of language that's in all of the Scarcella in criminal cases when you have these, quote unquote confessions.


And by the way, I have to say this before I get back to justice. It sounds to me like you did everything right. You did what we always ask people to do on the show. Don't talk. You didn't sign a piece of paper, although it sounded like a pretty good offer, like to a kid in 10th grade. So you did everything right and the system failed you anyway. Justin, do you have a theory on how this Rodriguez character could have possibly convinced the detectives that, I mean, my mind goes to a pretty dark place here, but why did he finger Nelson?


The only theory I have is Rodriguez knew who Nelson was and he just pinned it on somebody that maybe looked more like him than anybody else did. But one other thing about Eduardo Rodriguez. The seventy fifth was very familiar with him. He had multiple arrests from the seventy fifth robbery, I believe, in nineteen ninety and then a drug conviction in ninety five. He was on parole at the time of this murder for that drug conviction from ninety five.


They knew him and they might have found him to be useful. And in this case they didn't want to put him in jail. I mean that's clear because they could have, they should have. It was their responsibility to do so. And instead they decided to pin it on an innocent man named Nelson Cruz, which was standard operating procedure for them at that time. Anyway, the seventy fifth, as Nelson said, is notorious.


The quote from Michael Reese when he was the head of that squad from the early 80s into the early nineties, he was involved with seven hundred and fifty homicide investigations and only one time did they actually follow the rules. So Rodriguez tells them, I didn't do it. And they bring Andre Bellinger and he gives them the information that they want to hear. And what we know about Andre Bellinger is in nineteen eighty one, Andre Bellinger was charged with murder and he only does a one and a half to three.


At the time of Nelson's arrest, Andre Bellinger was working with the Pal, which is the Police Athletic League, and he lived only two blocks away from the seventy fifth person. And what we know from the hearing with Detective Brooks testifies to was right before the lineup. Scarcella a.m. there alone with Andre Bellinger.


So now we have to get to the trial. A New York City police officer testified that they had not seen Nelson Cruz at the scene. I'm going to read the testimony here. Bellson, your lawyer, walked the officer through what happened. He said, did you see the muzzle flashes of the gun? He answers, I saw muzzle flashes. And you jumped out of the car almost immediately upon hearing the shots. Correct. And the officer says correct.


Your gun drawn officer says yes. Did you ever see Nelson Cruz on the scene? No. Did you ever see Nelson Cruz with a nine millimeter handgun in his hand? No. You did see Eduardo Rodriguez with a nine millimeter handgun in his hand, correct? Yes. As a matter of fact, you were pointing your nine millimeter at him, correct? Officer Reply's? Correct. Because he had a gun in his hand, correct? Correct. And you were screaming at the top of your lungs to drop the gun.


Drop the gun. Correct. Officer reply's. Correct. Now, that is some of the most powerful testimony I have ever heard. And all of it serves to prove that you could not. Did not commit this crime, you know, as you read the testimony, as I remember, just like yesterday and I'm still confused. Jason, the only witness against me was not Robert Rodriguez at my trial. He used to. And when you act go into the space, he was there from the beginning that you the police on the scene, he states no reaction.


Did you see anybody get arrested on a crime scene? He states no. So my mom is like, well, CryoLife was this guy.


And how could you be confused as to whether or not there were police officers? He wasn't confused. He said there weren't, but there were. This is not a thing you could mix up, like the color of the shirt the guy was wearing.


You know, Bélanger his story is that Nelson gets into it with a guy named Shaq and that Nelson drives his car, comes back around and then gets into it with the arrow. Bellinger says it. Nelson accused me of giving Shaq a gun that Nelson just kills Vieira. That's basically Bélanger just thought. No one else says that. No one. And what's interesting is Shaq actually came to testify in twenty nineteen and he said he never had a fight with Nelson Cruz.


So that was a made up story. And what corroborates with Shaq says is when Andre Bellinger speaks to the conviction review unit in twenty fifteen says he says he can't even remember the incident with Shaq, which is the whole basis of this altercation. This case is a joke. OK, Bellinger was also the least credible witness, not just because of his background, but also because Bellinger testified that the police told him who to identify. And Bellinger also testified that he'd only been able to identify the murder weapon as a nine millimeter gun because the police had told him that's what it was.


They didn't know. The gun that Rodriguez was arrested with was the murder weapon until just before Nelson's trial. And this is a common theme in policing from the NYPD, is they don't do any forensic investigation. OK, so the ballistics from the nine millimeter that Rodriguez is caught with match the shell casings that murdered Trevor Veera when the police officer testified that he didn't see me at all.


I mean, when they were gone, he stated his name with the gun. I'm like, I'm a go home. And at the end of the term, you came back with a guilty verdict and sentenced to 25 to life. You got the guy with the smoking gun. All five shell casings match that gun. I still can't believe it. 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 through 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. This episode is underwritten by the AIG pro bono program. AIG is a leading global insurance company, and for over a decade, the AIG pro bono program has provided thousands of hours of free legal services and other support to non-profit organizations and individuals most in need. More recently, the program added criminal and social justice reform as a key pillar of its mission. Nelson didn't exactly take this lying down. Instead, you got busy behind bars, right?


I mean, tell us about the actual innocence group. Like I said, I was sentenced to 25 years to life and I up today and know anything about the law. And I'm just saying in law library action for help and, you know, reading a lot of statutes and trying to familiarize myself. So I ran across, you know, a lot of good guys and they tease me about the laws. And at the same time, I'm trying to gather my evidence to submit my affidavits to the division.


At the time the appeal was pending. But I couldn't because, you know, my family when I read when I originally we don't have money like that to be hired a private investigator. So I had my mother. She was, you know, going into these dangerous projects, looking for my friends, looking for people that was at the crime scene at night. And with the help of my mobile phone numbers and what the phone numbers, I was contacting people, gathering evidence.


I had got about maybe two to three affidavits at first. And then my brother later on, we had to hire a private investigator to locate these witnesses and get affidavits from them. And as I'm submitting these motions, I'm getting a shot now. I'm losing hope, but I'm still fired because I said, listen, honey, one day I got to give here. I know I commit this crime. And to the contrary, you have me being in prison.


I'm hearing of a guy named Bush, which is Hamilton. I don't know if you familiar with him. He's a jailhouse lawyer. And I'm like, wow, I got to meet this guy because I have a piece of the law. So and let me interrupt Hamilton in the law library and we exchange information and stuff like that and explain it to him about my case. He reviewed my did he have to see that Scarsella name is in the bottom?


He's like, wow, this guy's in my case, he lied on me, on my face, and he's actually said the same thing. So we leave Shawangunk, we end up in over when we go to all of our correctional facility. Again, I know a lot. An inmate Shabak cybercafe, a guy by the name of Danny Rinconada, also High and Derrick. And rather, that's when we came up with the name actually Inocente 18. And what we was doing was like one day we'll work on my case.


The next day we'll work on a case like that. We take turns on each other case. And was me what to do right over here. Right over here. Do this, do that. And at the same time, I told me what to do. I'm learning. And basically what I was doing was lawyer shopping. I'm sitting in the big package, all my evidence I have to pay with my clients and sketches that are true. Trying to get some help from the outside, wrote every Action Innocence Project I rogovin as I wrote the president, I wrote everywhere, Jason, every any way you can think of I wrote and at this time to go home in 2011.


So Derek always told me, listen, I'm not going to forget about you once, I'll make it home. I'm never going to forget. And I told her that so many times said being ahead, you know, guys tell you, listen, we're going to go home to the street and guys just go home and live their life. So I'm like, wow, I hope they don't do this to me, you know? And every girl and kept his word.


Jason, he put Justin on my case. And from there we gather more evidence and I'm well, not today.


Derek has been on the show. Danny Rincón, Chewbacca, Shakoor. I mean, all these people are people I know well and I've talked often about the awesome power that you guys collectively manifested, all of whom had been through the same experience at the hands of the same people and setting up basically a law firm inside the walls of the prison. You know, call it whatever you want. Call Cruz, Hamilton and Rincón. I could see it on a letterhead.


And hopefully someday you guys will actually form a law firm on the outside, because I think you guys would be incredible together. Derrick, when he was on wrongful conviction, I was like, oh, my God, this is like interviewing a Yale law professor. I mean, this guy is on fire, so knowledgeable.


That is my mentor, by the way, Derrick, we call him Google Legal. Give him a fact and he'll give you a case.


And Nelson, you should know it's Derrick. What is not just Derrick. I mean, all of us are just super committed to seeing you get home and get on with your life.


So Nelson litigated his case. He filed a motion to vacate. He filed an appeal and got shot down at every every turn over the past twenty years. And so the hearing that we were finally granted in 2019 and the evidence that we presented was it was quite astounding. I mean, obviously, we called Officer Petty and again, who said that he did not see Nelson Cruz at the scene before, after or during the crime. We called William Hardin, who was across the street, who watched the ponytailed man kill his friend.


He knew Trevor Beera and did not see Nelson Cruz there. He saw the police pull up at the scene. And we called William Johnson, who was the other man that was arrested at the scene, and he testified that he knew Nelson Cruz and he did not see Nelson Cruz at the scene. I mean, those are three eyewitnesses. We called to alibi witnesses Ralph Johnson and the only questions that the D.A. had for Ralph Johnson was, did he eat his Chinese food or not?


That night, that was solid. Ralph Johnson was on the witness stand. Another alibi witness, Bonny Cooper, who was at the time Andre Bellingham's mistress, testified that Andre Bélanger admitted to her he never saw the crime. Christopher Cooper, Bonny Cooper's son, who was playing basketball with Andre Ballinger that night. Chris Cooper testified that Bélanger couldn't have seen it because the shooting had already happened by the time they get there. We also called Jay Salpeter, who was a private investigator who interviewed Andre Bélanger, and he asked Andre Bélanger, why didn't you mention the police or Eduardo Rodriguez?


And Bélanger told Jay Salpeter that the police never told him that Rodriguez or the police were at the scene. I mean, and we called Germyn Frazier, the man Shaq, who Bélanger said started this whole thing off. And Shaq testified that he never pulled a gun out on Nelson, that there was never a dispute that night, that that's all false. Of course, we called Scarcella and Camil. And Scarsella has amnesia. He can remember what he was wearing in nineteen seventy three.


But when you ask him about the case that you're talking about now, he can't remember anything. But Mark Brooks puts him in Camiel right with Andre Bélanger before the lineup. I mean this was such a bad blowout that April 12, 12, 19, I made an oral argument and also on paper to release Nelson on bail, which is astounding in the middle of a post conviction era. It was going that bad that I said in the interest of justice, that this court should release it.


And Judge Simpson on that day said that Louis Scarcella was totally involved with this case, Andre Bellinger was unreliable, and that Chris and Bonnie Cooper, she found to be reliable witnesses. That was April. By August, she was in another in another place, you know, God bless what happened.


But I knew something strange was going on while she was presiding over my hearing. Jason, she was funny. You know, she had to be given credit to my witness's testimony. And then later on, when Justin highlights it to her, it's like she was just like she don't know, like what happened a couple of days ago. And at the end, when I work for the session on August 29 for In Motion Jason, I was like lost.


But we found out that, you know, she was mentally ill with Alzheimer's. Has she been raised by the mom? I would have been home already.


You know, there's no question. You know, Nelson is referring to a very respected judge from the Brooklyn Supreme Court who was known for her willingness to vacate wrongful convictions, her name, which is Shoddiest Simpson, and she had ordered new trials previously for other men who had been also framed by Louis Scarcella. Listen to this quote. In the case of someone named Hargrove, Judge Simpson had this to say specifically about Scarsella. The pattern and practice of Scarcella conduct, which manifests a disregard for rules, law and the truth, undermines our judicial system and gives cause for a new review of the evidence.


I mean, she just called it out like it was. And here it is again, right in front of her. But the craziest twist of fate was that this poor woman who not an old lady, she was in her young 50s, she had early onset Alzheimer's, and she just literally lost the plot.


When I was listening to her decision on August twenty nine, twenty nineteen, the first decision she read off, I argued orally. She left the bench totally abruptly. A court officer came out and told us to come back after lunch. And when she came back out after lunch, she read off another decision, which I was left wondering what hearing that she sat through.


Her decision is based on an erroneous understanding of what we put forward.


I mean, it's that we presented Eduardo Rodriguez as our witness for a self-defense claim, which we never took that position. We always took the position that Eduardo Rodriguez was the killer. The prosecutor put Eduardo Rodriguez on the witness stand. So she misstated that. I mean, there's video of the course of the hearing and this decision falls on the following.


Rodriguez testified at his hearing that the victim fired the first shot at Cruz and then Cruz shot back in self-defense. The defense claims both that victory is unreliable and at the same time, ask the court, find his testimony supports the claim of self-defense and that this constitutes new evidence. For this reason, the motion must be denied. Yes, they never claim that Rodriguez was newly discovered evidence claim that Rodriguez was unreliable. From day one, they put him off.


That's the evidence they put every time that contradicted the only evidence that was at trial, which is Andre Vollans. Right. One witness who says the police told him who did it, who says the police told them what weapon was used. Who even testifies that the police told them that Cruz was in the lineup? How reliable is that witness? And then we hear from a witness, the witness that is the first person who points to Nelson Cruz. He has a look at what Rodriguez has a motive to lie, and then 15 years later says it's self-defense.


We don't take his position. That's evidence that we put before the court. We're going to believe that on the day of his birthday, he kills somebody. Unfortunately, cases like this, the law doesn't really protect a 17 year old.


I make my point that Rodriguez was an eyewitness and she pulls everybody up to the bench, schedules every argument. She never provides a written decision and tells us to come back in December of twenty nineteen to do twelve sixty.


Be back until it's a Monday.


I've shared this video with the district attorney myself. Like Eric, personally, I do have a lot of respect for him. I'm completely confused as to why this case has been ignored.


When I came back from court last year, you know, I pulled out my typewriter and I started writing numerous letters to every Gonzalez, to people on the ground and never received a response.


There's a very powerful quote where you said in a letter to Eric Gonzalez, I know deep in my heart something went wrong at my hearing. I know me reaching out to you may not be the proper way to go about it, but I truly need help in this matter and feel that you have the power to step in and conduct an investigation. And of course, a year after the hearing in early August, twenty twenty, it was confirmed that Judge Simpson had early onset Alzheimer's and she retired.


You know, they should be ashamed of what they are doing with me. Something went wrong during these proceedings. What's wrong with the judge? And you got the power to intervene. You've got to see all you want there, which, you know, I think a kind of Thompson got a not following what kind of Thompson was doing. In the reargument was granted, it's tragic what happened to poor judgment. Simpson, what the fuck happens now? So in a normal course, the judge will issue a written decision.


The court will enter the decision. She granted the motion to re argue, which is very, very, very rare. She never issues a written decision. The court doesn't even enter this decision, which is what has to be done. So almost a year goes by and in August of twenty twenty, we find out that Judge Simpson has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. So then Judge Demick, the administrative judge, assigns Raymond L. Rodriguez to the case. So we file the reargument and Judge Rodriguez told us that he wouldn't hear any of these filings, that the only thing that was in front of him was Judge Simpson's competency during the hearing and when she rendered her decision.


Right. But which decision? The initial denial of the motion to vacate or the decision to grant a reargument?


You bring up a phenomenal point. This is a very confusing procedural history. He tells us in January of twenty twenty one that the motion to re argue was taken off the calendar. He was not going to hear it. The only thing he ruled on is her oral decision, denying the motion to vacate the conviction and the motion to vacate her decision. Based upon our competency. He basically says that I'm not going to deal with the fact that she granted reargument, which I don't know how he does that.


B, she already granted it. And then on March 1st, twenty twenty one, Judge Raymond Rodriguez determined that she was competent and upheld her oral decision to deny Nelson Kruse's motion to vacate. And it's very interesting because in our motion to vacate Judge Simpson's decision that we filed back on August of twenty twenty, we had an affidavit from an investigator that spoke to her husband. We also had a ProPublica article where the husband spoke and said that he had noticed that Judge Simpson's mental health had been slipping as far back as the summer of twenty eighteen, which is almost a year before Nelson Cruz actual hearing, let alone the decision.


So Judge Rodriguez said that all of that information was speculative and said I see how she could come to her decision. There's a reasonable basis for her decision. I don't know how he comes to that decision because he's not a doctor. And to be frank, I mean, he's not a mind reader. So Judge Rodriguez's decision we filing leave to appeal. We're also filing a motion to compel a written decision from the Supreme Court, because it's our position that Judge Simpson's oral decision was effectively a decision.


It was never filed. It was never signed off on by her. And how could she sign off on it? Two days after she was in court and rendered that decision, she went on medical leave because she was suffering from Alzheimer's.


So just in this case is just fucking outrageous. And I know a lot of our listeners are going to want to do something after they hear this. So what kind of action kind of just a regular person take?


We set up a petition on changelog. They can sign off on the petition. And prayerfully, the Brooklyn DA's office and the judges in Brooklyn will see people signing off on this petition.


There's going to be a link in the bio. You can take an action that will add up to making a difference and getting the attention to this awful case that it deserves. And now this is the part of the show that we call closing arguments. And this is where I first of all, thank both of you for being here. Just in bonus, criminal defense attorney and Nelson Cruz wrongfully convicted from behind bars. Thank you both for being here. And now I'm going to turn my microphone off and listen to each of you share your final thoughts on whatever you want to talk about.


And so let's leave the best for last. Of course, that's Nelson Cruz. And first, over to you, Justin, for closing arguments.


I just want to make it clear to everybody that this is a disgrace. The mountains of evidence show that this man is innocent and the DA's office has the ability to interview our witnesses. Our witnesses were consistent in the conviction review process. Their witnesses weren't consistent. And believe me, they treated our witnesses differently than they treated their witnesses. And this is just. It's disgraceful. Andre Bellinger came in in two nineteen and he said his trial testimony was truthful.


He maintained his trial testimony, which is that they told him what type of gun was used. They told him that it was Nelson Cruz. They told him Eduardo Rodriguez wasn't reliable. They told him they needed him because Eduardo Rodriguez wasn't reliable. They told him that Nelson Cruz was going to be in the lineup. This is the only piece of evidence that convicted Nelson Cruz. I don't really know if I have to say anything more other than you heard what I said about what was presented at the hearing.


And that's without saying that Scarcella and Steven Camil were involved in this case. To top it off, they were involved. If ever there was a case that was presented in court where clear and convincing evidence was presented that a man was actually innocent, it was Nelson Cruz's case. Nelson, over to you for the last word.


Thank you, first of all, Jason, for sharing my story. And er and I know, like my attorney, Justin Kronosaurus right now, I'm just hoping for that amount of evidence that I have shown that I commit this crime. And the next day, the next few weeks or the next month, come in, I'll be exonerated. I'm just, you know, trying to get out of here. Enough is enough. You know, I don't suffer a lot in here unless my parents have been incarcerated, been for me.


I've been off me. You know, sometimes I get frustrated and, you know, I lose hope, but I'll fight against it. I move forward. I move forward. And, you know, once again, thank you, Jason. I appreciate you. And, you know, everyone is listening to my story. Yeah, I have information directly, and that's what's been going on with me for almost 23 years.


Thank you for listening to wrongful conviction with Jason Flom, please support your local innocence projects and go to the link in our bio to see how you can help. I'd like to thank our production team, Connor Hall, Jeff Kleiber and Kevin Ortiz. The music on the show, as always, 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 Flom is a production of Lovaas for Good podcast in association with Signal Company No.