After 27 years serving a wrongful conviction, man becomes 10th to be exonerated under Krasner

Cherri Gregg
October 09, 2019 - 1:55 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia man who spent 27 years behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit is now free — the 10th person to be exonerated under the leadership of District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Willie Veasy has been in prison since 1992 for a North Philly robbery and murder, and every day since he has declared his innocence. But as of Wednesday, the fight for his innocence is over.

"It was never a doubt in my mind that he was gonna come home. The question was just when," said Ketra Veasy, who was just 12 when her brother went to prison. She and the entire family stayed on the front lines, providing support. 

Willie Veasy even had an an alibi: He was at work at the time of the murder, which was about 20 minutes away. However, he signed a confession allegedly coerced by detectives, and an eyewitness convicted him. 

Last week, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office field a motion for a new trial, citing new evidence that the confession was coerced by detectives and the eyewitness was not credible. On Wednesday, Judge Leon Tucker granted the motion, telling Veasy that "patience is a virtue — you had patience, and now you are a free man."

"There is a pattern or practice of eliciting false confessions," noted James Figorski, Veasy's lawyer. He said the district attorney's office is now looking into other cases connected to the detectives that railroaded Veasy.

"And we are not sure how many more cases like this there are," he added.

Patricia Cummings, supervisor of the Conviction Integrity Unit for the district attorney's office, says this case is important.

"Because it sets the stage for taking a hard look at cases where the detectives involved in this case used improper techniques, potentially resulting in false confessions," she said. 

For Veasy, exoneration day is a day he hoped would become reality.

"I get to walk out of here the same way I came in: As a free man," he said.