Kareem Bellamy, a Queens man who was accused of murder, walked freely on Friday after prosecutors decided to not pursue murder charges in a case where two former detectives banked their reputation on his innocence.
Bellamy, 44, spent approximately 15 years in jail for a stabbing he has always said he didn't commit.
You're free to resume your life, Supreme Court Justice Joel Blumenfeld told Bellamy, as he wiped away tears, as reported by the New York Daily News. Get on with your life. Don't dwell in the past. Make the most of what you've got.
Bellamy, who was convicted for the 1994 stabbing death of James Abbott Jr. in Far Rockaway, thanked the justice.
The Daily News reported that Bellamy said he wished prosecutors would have stood up and said he was innocent of killing Abbott. Bellamy knew about, as they attended junior high school together in the Rockaways.
It's sad, Bellamy said. Do they want James to come out of the grave and say, 'He didn't kill me?'
Blumenfeld threw out the murder conviction back in 2008 and ordered a new trial after a witness was tracked down and produced an audiotape of a friend confessing to Abbott's murder. Queens prosecutors later determined the tape was faked and accused Bellamy's lawyers of paying career criminal Michael Green to pin the slaying on someone else, according to the Daily News.
Mr. Bellamy has now been freed from that conviction based on an outright fraud perpetrated against this court, said Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal told the Daily News. He has not - I repeat - he has not been exonerated. This is not a case of actual innocence.
Bellamy is enrolled in school to learn medical billing. He is also trying to rebuild relationships with his children as it suffered because Bellamy was imprisoned.
I was definitely dead, Bellamy told the Daily News. Now I'm alive again.