A San Francisco man’s murder conviction was overturned after 32 years of claiming his innocence, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Joaquin Ciria was arrested for murder on March 25, 1990. For more than three decades, he insisted he did not commit the crime.
Ciria held his ground during successive parole hearings, denying his involvement and assumed guilt in the crime. Because of this, he was continuously denied parole, the Chronicle reported.
“You’re not going to put yourself through all that denying, (insisting) you didn’t do it if you’re not innocent,” said Pedro Ciria, Joaquin’s son.
Lara Bazelon, the chairperson of the district attorney’s Innocence Commission, took on Ciria’s case.
Roberto Socorro swore in a declaration that he saw and heard the killer, a man he knew, reported the Chronicle. “I am deeply ashamed of my selfish decision to remain silent all these years,” Socorro said in a declaration. In an interview, he said he did not come forward sooner because he did not believe in cooperating with the police.
The alleged shooter had not been charged as of the publication date, April 19, the newspaper noted.
Bazelon was convinced of Ciria’s innocence following Socorro’s testimony before the commission, said the article. “I found the story credible, I found him credible,” said Bazelon.
The judge also found Socorro’s statements compelling but did not say that Ciria was innocent.
“I am going to find that it’s reasonably likely that one juror would have changed their vote,” said Judge Brendan Conroy.
Ciria thanked the judge for the opportunity to present his case after all these years, according to the report. The district attorney said the case will not be retried.
Ciria’s son Pedro embraced loved ones, his eyes red from crying, said the Chronicle. “It feels good,” said Pedro, 32, who was only 6 weeks old when his father went to jail.