Anthony Yarbough (pictured), a Brooklyn man serving a 75-to-life sentence for allegedly killing his mother, sister, and her friend, may be exonerated by newly found DNA evidence, the Daily News reports.
“Every day I ask God, I’m innocent. What am I doing here?” Yarbough told the Daily News from Attica Correctional Facility, where he has served seven years of his sentence.
In 1992, the then-18-year-old Yarbough called 911 and told them he’d found the stabbed and strangled bodies of Mother Annie Yarbough, half-sister Chavonn Barnes, and Barnes’ friend Latasha Knox in their Coney Island apartment, which also served as a crack den.
Barnes and Knox were only 12.
Less than 24 hours later, Yarbough signed a confession admitting he’d killed the three — but Yarbough says he was coerced into doing so. He was arrested along with friend Sharrif Wilson.
“My mother was my best friend, despite her drug habit,” Yarbough said. ”I miss all three of them so much.”
Despite a lack of physical evidence or witnesses tying them to the murders, Yarbough and Wilson were convicted in 1994.
Wilson would testify against Yarbough in exchange for a reduced sentence; he received nine years to life. Still, Wilson has been denied parole six times because he keeps contradicting himself at his hearings, vacillating between admitting to the crime then denying it.
But two months ago, DNA taken from Annie Yarbough’s fingernails matched DNA recovered from the mutilated body of Migdalia Ruiz, who was found outside a Sunset Park tenement in January 1999. No arrests have been made in that case.
“The DNA results now tell us that the real killer went on to rape and murder again,” said Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, Yarbough’s lawyer. ”I am confident that the Kings County District Attorney’s office will right this wrong.”
The case presents another potential embarrassment for Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes, who not only lost the Democratic primary this month — but whose office has also handed out a series of wrongful convictions.
Prosecutors said they will re-open and re-examine the case further.
Yarbough’s attorneys have argued that his initial attorney failed to argue that the murders could’ve happened hours before the bodies were found while Yarbough and Wilson were hanging out in the West Village. They also questioned the prosecution’s defense that Annie Yarbough didn’t like her son’s friendship with Wilson.
Yarbough is holding out that the evidence will free him.
“For 21 years I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. ”That’s all I’ve got to hang on to now: hope.”
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