Apart from bringing joy to people, Disney World now adds a new kindliness act, namely the action of saving lives. After 25 years behind bars, Jonathan Fleming, now 51 has been released from prison thanks to a hotel receipt that proved he did not murder his friend Daryl “Black” Rush in the summer of 1989. Last year, the defense asked the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to review the case created by the then-DA Charles “Joe” Hynes. However, Fleming was not the only one to be wrongly convicted by Hynes; Antonio Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson were also released from prison in February, after 21 years spent paying for a triple homicide they did not commit.
Disney World is much more than the happiest place on earth; the entertainment complex in Orlando, Florida also saves lives, now that an innocent man was released after spending a quarter of a century in prison thanks to a time stamped and dated receipt from a hotel in the area. According to the evidence that was “purposely withheld,” as Taylor Koss, one of Fleming’s lawyers believes, the man was not in Brooklyn, Williamsburg the night when Rush was killed. On the contrary, the accused man was in a vacation with his family at Disney World and, even though he offered videos and photos from the vacation, the authorities did not want to exclude the possibility that he flew back home to kill his friend, returned to the entertainment complex and then flew again with his family the next day.
Anthony Mayol, Fleming’s other lawyer believes that the court stole 25 years of his client’s life, though there was sound evidence that he was not involved in the crime, but relaxing at Disney World on the day in question. Both lawyers are now ready to sue everybody related to the case so that their client can support himself. Therefore, a civil rights lawsuit is now expected against the city, so that Fleming can be compensated for the time spent in jail.
The X-ray of an Unjustly Conviction
Jonathan Fleming was convicted in 1989 for killing his friend Darryl “Black” Rush in Brooklyn, although the culprit told police and prosecutors that he was in Orlando, Florida when the murder occurred. He offered videos and photos from his trip, but he was sent to prison after a witness said she saw Fleming killing Rush. She later recanted her story, but Fleming lost the appeals cases.
In 2013, the defense found that Fleming was arrested while carrying a receipt from the hotel that proved he was at Disney World when the murder took place. Prosecutors also discovered a report from Orlando police, in which several staff members from the hotel recognized the man as one of the lodging’s clients. However, none of the evidence that could have exonerated Fleming was handed over to the defence, therefore, an innocent man was sent to prison. In order to avoid such misjudgments from now on, District Attorney Ken Thompson named Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. as special counsel to the DA for the Conviction Review Unit.
After hugging his mother, who waited a quarter of a century to see her son free again, Fleming is taking life step by step. Disney World is, indeed, the happiest place on earth after proving that, apart from making people joyful, it also saves lives. Fleming declared that all he wants to do now is “go eat dinner with my mother and my family, and I’m going to live the rest of my life.”
By: Gabriela Motroc