30 Years Later, The Conviction Of Two Convicted Of The Murder Of A Woman In New York Is Annulled | The USA Print – THE USA PRINT


A judge ordered new trials for Brian Scott Lorenz and James Pugh, who have always maintained their innocence after being convicted of murdering a woman in 1993 inside her home near Buffalo (New York).

The DNA analysis additions and the fact that original prosecutors withheld evidence that could have helped the defense mean the convictions should be overturned, Judge Paul Wojtaszek ruled Wednesday, reported Fox News.

However, the Erie County State Supreme Court judge discredited a claim made during a reexamination of the case: that the real culprit was Richard Matt, a convicted murderer who escaped from an upstate New York prison in 2015 and was shot and killed by a federal agent.

Deborah Meindl, a 33-year-old nursing student and mother of two, was stabbed dozens of times and strangled to death inside her Tonawanda home12 miles north of Buffalo.

Her husband Donald Meindl, who had a $50,000 life insurance policy on his wife and was having an affair at his workplace, was initially suspected in her murder but was never charged and died in May of this year.

Authorities began investigating Lorenz and Pugh on the theory that they were burglarizing the Meindl home. and they killed Deborah when they were discovered.

Lorenz and Pugh were charged in the case after Lorenz, then arrested for another crime in Iowa, confessed to murdering Meindl and implicated Pugh. Lorenz later said that it had been a false confession.

Lorenz, now 52, ​​and Pugh, 61, were found guilty of Meindl’s murder, though both maintained their innocence. Pugh was paroled in 2019, but Lorenz remains in prison.

The case was reopened in 2018 after defense attorneys convinced a state judge to grant a review of forensic evidence, which found that neither Lorenz’s nor Pugh’s DNA was at the crime scene, including that of a knife used in the attack.

Lorenz’s lawyer praised the judge’s decision to vacate the convictions this week. Scott Lorenz He has gone through a nightmare of three decades in prison for a crime he did not commit.” Ilann Maazel said Thursday. “Though the world abandoned him, he never gave up on himself or his quest for justice. Scott just wants to go home, be with his wife and live in peace.”

Pugh’s lawyer, Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, said it’s “a wonderful new day” for his client, who since his parole has been living with his sister and working as a handyman. “He is no longer a convicted murderer and he can get on with his life,” Margulis-Ohnuma said.

Judge Wojtaszek argued that a new trial was warranted based on the DNA evidence and that prosecutors failed to disclose that a witness failed to identify a crucial piece of evidence: a commemorative coin that allegedly linked Lorenz to the crime.

In a similar case, after passing 19 years locked up for a homicide he did not commit in Brooklyn (NYC) and adding more than three decades of legal battle to clear his name, Emel McDowell was practically reborn in March when a judge agreed to vacate his conviction.

Since 2014 the Brooklyn Sentence Review Unit has overturned the wrongful convictions of 35 people, including McDowell. It has also happened in other New York counties.

last march Sheldon Thomas regained his freedom after spending 18 years in prison for the murder of a girl in New York that he did not commit.

In December it was announced that Johnny Hincapié, a native of Colombia who He spent 25 years in prison for the murder of a tourist that he did not commit, would receive nearly $18 million in legal settlements with the city and state of New York.

In November Shamel Capers He was released after spending eight years in prison for a homicide he did not commit: a teenager shot on board an MTA bus in Queens.

Previously, in June 2022, a man was released after spending almost eight years in jail and under house arrest after being wrongly accused of the murder of his friend in Queens.

In May 2022 it was announced that New York City would pay $10.5 million to a man who mistakenly served 24 years in jail, to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit against a former detective and two other officers.

In July 2021 in Staten Island (NYC) a murder conviction was overturned for the first time, after a man spent 23 years unjustly imprisoned.

In late 2021, a former Hispanic school guard who spent 10 years in prison because Queens prosecutors allegedly withheld key evidence and witness tampering, settled his lawsuit against the city for $6.25 million.

In September 2021 a wrongfully convicted man who spent 33 years behind bars accused of stabbing and strangling teenage girl reached $16 million dollar compensation settlement in Long Island. Was the longest murder case to be dismissed in New York state history and one of the longest in the entire US.

Also in 2018 were reported several cases of men in New York who spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Since then, other injustices have been recognized.


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