wrongful convictions

Man Cleared in Upper West Side Rape After Serving Fourteen-Year Sentence

42-37276361 Photo: Corbis/? Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Last month the Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed the rape charges against Johnny O’Neal, 54, long after he finished serving a fourteen-year sentence. In 1984, O’Neal was convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint on the roof of the Frederick Douglass Houses, though several family members said he was at home watching TV. He was released in 1998, and a recent reinvestigation determined that the late Gregory Smith confessed to the crime, as well as two other rapes. “I needed this for my mother,” O’Neal said on Thursday. “I didn’t want her to be deceased and to think her son was a rapist. She had to wear the same stigma I wore.” He said he plans to sue “the people responsible.” 

Man Cleared in NYC Rape After Serving 14 Years