GIST: Thirty years ago, three men broke into a Brooklyn, N.Y., Burger King, robbing the store and gang-raping an 18-year-old worker who had been closing up the eatery. But the brutal attack—and the subsequent police investigation—landed four men behind bars. The fourth was a then 17-year-old named Mark Denny, whom the 18-year-old identified in a police lineup. Despite the three rapists saying that Denny wasn’t there, and with no evidence linking him to the crime scene, her testimony was enough to put Denny behind bars. Now, the New York Post reports, after Denny has spent 30 years behind bars, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has confirmed what Denny maintained all along: He was innocent. On Wednesday, Gonzalez moved to exonerate Denny, who was flanked by his family in New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn after his conviction was dismissed. Arrested before becoming a legal adult, Denny emerges from prison a middle-aged man. Through the years, his family stood strong beside him, believing in his innocence and fighting for his freedom. “Prison was an ugly experience for me. I almost lost myself. Now I’m a free man,” Denny told reporters in court. “This type of justice is needed; I appreciate everything that everyone has done.” According to CBS New York, Denny maintained his innocence even when a guilty plea would have yielded him a lighter sentence. He was eventually aided by the Innocence Project, which works to free the wrongfully convicted.........As the New York Post reports, the rape victim told police there may have been a fourth attacker—but didn’t initially identify Denny when shown his photograph. But the teenager, whose eyes were reportedly covered for some of the attack, picked Denny out of a lineup days later. The Innocence Project New Orleans notes that eyewitness testimony, despite being “one of the most common pieces of evidence” presented in court, has been shown to be unreliable. Trauma can distort memory, and studies have shown that most people fail at remembering or recalling events as they actually happened. For these reasons, eyewitness misidentification is reportedly the “leading evidentiary cause” of wrongful convictions, according to the group."

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