In the mid-1995, Eric Glisson was falsely convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life for the January 1995 murder of a Bronx cabbie, as detailed in NBC’s “Dateline: In the Shadow of Justice: A Bronx Tale.” The episode focuses on his fight for justice from behind bars and how long it took him to be able to overturn his conviction.
Who is Eric Glisson?
On January 19, 1995, murderers in the Bronx discovered 43-year-old Senegalese immigrant Baithe Diop shot dead. They also took his cash and cell phone. This was the start of Eric Glisson’s horror. Around 4:30 in the morning, Baithe, a livery taxi driver for New Harlem Car Service, was shot while he was getting his last ride. An accused drug addict named Miriam Tavares came forward to the authorities a few weeks after the murder, saying she had heard everything the gunmen said and had seen the crime from her bathroom window.
Of the six individuals she assisted in identifying, Eric, who is eighteen, was one. In September 1997, Eric was arrested, found guilty, and given a sentence ranging from 25 years to life based on his evidence. Eric remembered that Glisson had told Dateline, “I didn’t believe that I would be convicted of a crime that I didn’t do.” It feels as though your heart melts instantly. It simply vanishes. You genuinely believe that you are aware that they misread the ruling. That this is not possible. For killing Baithe, a total of four men and one woman would be found guilty and given life sentences.
Sixth was accused, found not guilty of the cab driver’s murder, but given a sentence for a different homicide that the authorities thought was connected to the first. By 2006, having spent nearly 11 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, Eric was at the end of his rope. He was at a loss for what to do as he had used up all of his appeals. At that time, he got to know Sister Joanna Chan, a Catholic nun who works as a volunteer at Sing Sing and is referred to by the prisoners as “Grandma.” I told her, ‘Grandma, I just lost my last appeal,'” Eric remembered. I have no idea what I’m going to do.
“I always say, ‘Eric, let’s keep the faith,'” Sister Joanna stated. You are aware that numerous sisters are in prayer for you. The sympathetic sister got in touch with Peter Cross, the only attorney she knew. Although initially doubtful, Peter eventually grew to believe that there was more to the story than what the police and prosecution had presented. After visiting the location, he discovered Miriam, the witness who testified against Eric, had been lying to the authorities. It is impossible that she could have heard and seen the murder from a hundred yards distant through her bathroom window.
Peter was shocked that her story had never been investigated by the police. “There’s no doubt this woman was lying,” said Peter. She claimed to have heard these chats inside the car from the window of her restroom. It’s really amazing, this testimony. But in 2002, Miriam overdosed on drugs and passed away. However, doubting the testimony of a late witness in a homicide that occurred more than ten years ago was insufficient to set Eric free. To secure his release from prison, Peter and his client had to determine who had shot the cab driver.
Eric Glisson is Championing Life with Fresh Perspective Today
It took years for Eric Glisson to get a lead. Through the Freedom of Information Act, he was able to obtain certain records in 2012 that demonstrated the slain cabbie’s cell phone had been used in the minutes following the murder. The calls were placed to the families of Gilbert “Gorgeous Indian” Vega and Jose “Joey Green Eyes” Rodriguez, two members of the infamous Bronx Sex, Money, Murder (SMM) gang. “It turns out that the District Attorney and the police had all the evidence at their disposal to solve this crime from the beginning,” Eric stated.
— Dateline Producer (@DatelineNBCProd) June 6, 2014
He wrote to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, claiming to have proof that the cab driver was slain by someone else, in a final, hopeless attempt to gain his freedom. The prosecutor to whom the letter was directed was no longer employed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Through a remarkable turn of events, his letter found its way onto the desk of Investigator John O’Malley, the detective tasked with dismantling the SMM gang ten years prior. Gilbert and Jose had assisted him in his investigation and admitted to killing a Bronx taxi driver after they were shot once each during an attempted heist.
During John’s visit to Sing Sing, Eric remembered their conversation: “John just got up and asked me, ‘Did you write this letter?'” And I responded, “Yes.” He gave me a handshake. And he expressed regret. “I’m sorry for what?” I exclaimed. You know, I know you’re innocent, he says. Eric said, “I asked him, ‘You, what are you talking about, sir?'” after he said that. “Listen, I know the guys who committed this crime,” he declared. John acknowledged in an affidavit that he did not commit the murder of Baithe, as did the other four prisoners.
On October 13, 2012, Eric’s accusations against him were withdrawn when he was released from prison on bond in October 2012. 97A7088 was a former prisoner who was set released after serving over 20 years in jail. You’re not going to convict me of something I didn’t do and then expect me to accept it, he said. I will fight till the very end. I’m a combatant. In April 2016, Eric’s federal civil rights complaint from 2014 was settled for $8 million. In addition, he was compensated $3,890,000 by the New York Court of Claims.
He has moved on and reconnected with his daughter Cynthia since then. When he was freed from prison, she was over eighteen years old, having been born a week earlier. In addition, he completed the college degree he had begun while incarcerated and launched a juice company called “Fresh Take.” According to the 46-year-old, “I realised I had a new perspective on life. Now that I’m free. I’m the winner now; I’m no longer the victim. I prevailed. I harbour no ill will towards anyone, with the exception of those who cultivate strawberries and mark them up.