BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – In a brief court hearing Monday morning, Judge Richard Kloch tossed out Jerome Thagard’s murder conviction in a matter of 30 seconds. He was let go from prison in December, and Monday the judge approved the motion.
He was convicted of pulling the trigger in a deadly shooting. However, four years later, police say new evidence emerged showing they had the wrong person all along.
Kloch said it’s important for the public to see Thagard’s face now, as a 21-year-old free man. An innocent man. After years of showing his mug shot as a teen wrongly convicted of murder.
Thagard then gave his aunt a big hug in the courtroom. He didn’t want to talk to the media about his attorney told us what he is feeling now.
Thagard’s attorney John Molloy said, “He is obviously very, very happy. This was a long time coming. Four and a half years ago he was arrested, taken out of the 11th grade of Bennett High School, charged with murder, and everything is finally over this morning.”
Molloy said, “He’s not angry at all. He’s not bitter. He accepts the fact a terrible mistake was made.”
Molloy said the evidence freeing Thagard revolves around the murder weapon being used in subsequent shootings. He says police now have a new suspect in mind, although no one else has been charged.
He says the next steps for Thagard will be to get his record expunged and hopefully get into college. He finished his GED while in prison.
Northrup’s family says they are now grieving their loss all over again. His brother David McCurdy said, “His kids ain’t never going to be able to turn around and pretend nothing happened. It’s not a couple year sentence for them. It’s a life sentence.”
Northrup’s family still believes he is guilty and says there is more to the story.
“They kind of put us in a situation where there is no good outcome for us. Only for him,” McCurdy said.
The victim’s mother Nancy Northrup said, “I am not letting this go. I have kept my mouth shut long enough. And I will do what I need to now in honor of my son.”