Sheldon Thomas walked out of a Brooklyn, New York courtroom a free man this month after being wrongfully convicted in 2004 and spending 18 years in prison.
Although he is free, Sheldon is still institutionalized, and he has trouble processing his freedom.
I haven’t even cried yet since I been home. I haven’t even got to the point where it actually hit me.
I still have dreams about being in prison. I’m scared to go to sleep. As the days go by it dawns on me a little bit more.
In 2004 Sheldon was found guilty of second-degree murder, attempted murder, and other offenses for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Anderson Bercy in East Flatbush.
The shooting also left another person injured.
Sheldon was arrested for murder after an eyewitness pointed to a picture of a guy named Sheldon Thomas in a police lineup of photos.
The man in the photo was a different person with the same name.
To add insult to injury, the Sheldon Thomas in the photo had no link to the case either.
For reasons unknown, the prosecutors in the case continued to focus on the Sheldon Thomas they had in custody, which led to his wrongful conviction.
Attorneys William Kastin and Leslie Resinger have been working with Sheldon for over 10 years, and they stated that the case should have never gone to trial.
Attorney Kastin said the case was 100% based on lies, and he believes every party in the system, the police, the prosecutors, and the judge all failed Sheldon.
The people involved in decision-making refused to accept the fact that a mistake was made.
How can a jury reach a fair verdict? It was rigged from the start.
In a pre-trial hearing, a detective lied and admitted to lying on the stand, and the case still moved forward.
After years of unsuccessful appeals, a case review unit concluded that Sheldon was “denied due process at every stage.”
Sheldon Thomas was arrested when he was 16, and he is now 35.
He said that he “most definitely” felt targeted, and he expounded that as an African American male, that is the norm.
From my lenses, where I see life, it’s always like that for people like me.
For people that look like me, it’s always like that. You’re guilty until you actually prove that you’re innocent.
During a recent hearing, Sheldon said that he sustained hope for so long by releasing resentment.
He shared that despite everything he’s been through he forgave the trial judge who told him he deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison when he was sentenced.
When I was sentenced, Del Giudice (sentencing judge) said I deserved to spend the rest of my life in prison.
He was wrong. I didn’t deserve what happened, and I forgive him.
I know I’ve lost 20 years already but ultimately I prevailed. I don’t like losing, so I have to let go because I don’t want that to be what defines me as a human, as a person. I want love to define me.
CBS reached out to the detective that made the initial arrest, but he chose not to comment.
Sheldon Thomas could potentially receive compensation through a lawsuit, but he is undecided on if he wants to pursue that option.
Reportedly, Sheldon said Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning got him through the tough times.
Sheldon Thomas is an incredible human being.
We pray that he is able to successfully transition back into regular life and that he decides to pursue a lawsuit.
Source: CBS News