Actor Martin Sheen said Thursday he won’t stop backing a man’s bid to be exonerated in a 1998 killing, although prosecutors have concluded the case was sound. Sheen said in a statement he was outraged by the Manhattan district attorney’s recent decision in the case of Jon-Adrian Velazquez, who was convicted of killing a retired police officer. Some witnesses have since backtracked, but prosecutors say an 18-month-long review didn’t turn up enough proof to clear Velazquez. “I promised Jon-Adrian that I would not give up the fight to see him walk out of prison a free man and I repeat that promise today,” Sheen said in the statement, provided by Velazquez’ lawyers, who filed papers Thursday asking a judge to dismiss the case. “He is an innocent man, wrongfully convicted. May justice prevail,” Sheen added.
A central New York man who spent nine years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of trying to kill his wife has won $5.5 million in damages from the state. Syracuse-area media outlets report a state Court of Claims judge ordered the payment to 46-year-old Daniel Gristwood of Pennellville. The judge ruled in 2011 that state police coerced him into falsely confessing in 1996. Gristwood was released from prison in 2005 after another man admitted attacking the sleeping Christina Gristwood with a hammer.