@ 2024 Advocate Channel.
All Rights reserved

Wrongfully Convicted Minnesota Man Freed After 20 Years in Prison

Wrongfully Convicted Minnesota Man Freed After 20 Years in Prison
Mark Vancleave/AP

Marvin Haynes, 35, is hugged by a supporter as he walks out of the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Stillwater in Bayport after a judge set aside his murder conviction.

Marvin Haynes was just 16 when he was charged for a crime he never committed.

(CNN) — Marvin Haynes has spent most of his life behind bars for a crime he never committed.

Even the current local prosecutor said what happened to Haynes, who was 16 when he was charged with murder in 2004 and convicted the following year, was “a terrible injustice.”

Now, almost two decades later, the 36-year-old is a free man after a Minnesota court vacated his conviction.

“I just want people to know that I am innocent. I was innocent from the very beginning,” he told “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday. “And I’m just happy that people just recognize it and understand my story.”

Haynes was accused of fatally shooting 55-year-old Harry “Randy” Sherer at a Minneapolis flower shop during an attempted robbery in 2004. The case against Haynes relied almost entirely on eyewitness evidence. One witness later said he never got a good look at the suspect, and another recanted his testimony.

“There was no forensic evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA,” said Mary Moriarty, the current top prosecutor at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. “There was no video connecting him to the crime. The murder weapon was never recovered.”

In a review of the case brought by the Great North Innocence Project, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office agreed Haynes’ right to due process was violated. At a November hearing, his attorneys “presented evidence showing that the identification procedures used to convict Mr. Haynes were inconsistent with best practices and unnecessarily suggestive,” the Great North Innocence Project said.

A judge vacated Haynes’ conviction Monday, and Moriarty publicly apologized for how her office handled the case nearly two decades ago.

“Almost twenty years ago, a terrible injustice occurred when the state prosecuted Marvin Haynes,” Moriarty said in a written statement. “We inflicted harm on Mr. Haynes and his family, and also on Harry Sherer, the victim, his family, and the community. We cannot undo the trauma experienced by those impacted by this prosecution, but today we have taken a step toward righting this wrong.”

The prosecutor also acknowledged how the wrongful conviction robbed Haynes of important milestones in his life.

“To Marvin Haynes: You lost the opportunity to graduate from high school, attend prom, have relationships, attend weddings and funerals, and be with your family during holidays,” Moriarty said. “For that, I am so deeply sorry.”

Haynes said he’s grateful the current prosecutor agreed that he was innocent.

“It means so much to me for somebody with that much power to now recognize that I’m innocent and correct and just help me move forward with my life,” Haynes told CNN. “I can’t even explain what that means to me.”

His attorney said Haynes’ case could help others who have been wrongfully convicted.

“I think Marvin’s story can be an inspiration for people who are still fighting their cases,” said Andrew Markquart, managing attorney for the Great North Innocence Project. “Unfortunately, it takes far too long and too many instances, and our laws make it far too difficult to get this kind of relief. But hopefully his story provides some hope for those still out there fighting.”

As for his plans for the future, Haynes said he’s eager to live as a normal adult for the first time – and also give back to family members who worked so hard to support him.

“I’m looking forward to getting a job and just getting my life in order and … just (trying) to help my family out.”

Written by Cheri Mossburg, Brad Parks, Rachel Webb, and Holly Yan

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Exonerated man killed by police in traffic stop

Video Source: Advocate Channel

From our sponsors

From our partners

Top Stories

Cnn Staff