It seems that the prosecutors failed to share crucial info from the police investigation with the defense attorneys, sealing the fate of the three innocent men. One of those prosecutors is still working in the Attorney Generals office and will now have to face the music about the horrendous thing he did. 

It raises the question of whether the death sentence for murder should still be a conviction option in this country? That is, with the exception of “Timothy McVie” type convictions where there is zero question of guilt, and even the perpetrator agrees they are guilty?  The y Spent 24 Years Behind Bars

In this tale of three men, two twenty year-olds and a thirty-five year-old man with a wife and four children at the time, were convicted of murder and have just been released after serving 24 years of a 50 year sentence. Why you might ask? Because on Friday, a state judge threw out the convictions and admonished Prosecutors for withholding evidence from police investigations that should have been shared with defense attorneys and would have cast serious doubt on the voracity of the charges. Making matters even more egregious, this information has been known for the past year when the men should have been released, but has been sat on by the current District Attorney. It seems that she may have delayed with excuses, because of protecting one of the Prosecutors involved in the original convictions who still works in her office. Justice Zayas who freed the men, called the D.A.’s  position “perplexing,” saying prosecutors had hidden evidence and misrepresented facts. 

The men were jubilant as they reunited with their families. What a monumental tragedy if they’d been sentenced to the death penalty and already been killed?     The y Spent 24 Years Behind Bars

The prosecutors and others involved in the incarceration of these innocent men are now most likely experiencing a new feeling of the jitters as they await their fate. No doubt it will be exactly what they deserve for the outright theft of 24 years, a combined 72 years of life from these men. Hard to figure that answer out ourselves, but also unnecessary, as there is a “principle” and law of life that’s been set in motion, that we can’t see or touch, but will see the result of at some point.

The tale proves that yes, as we know, some people do bad things to other people. However, it also proves that sure as night follows day, when that happens a force begins to work away beneath awareness, to compensate for the injustice. Over millenniums it has been referred to as Karma and other names. In this culture we say “What Goes Around Comes Around.” We can’t actually “see” the wheels turning, or “know” when they will arrive at their destination, but arrive they will! The reputations of the Prosecutors responsible for the mind-bending injustice of sending these men to prison, along with the credibility of ALL their cases will now be questioned and scrutinized. 

The prosecutors should have known better. Look what they did for a living! But for some reason we can’t know, they lost their way from their duty to do the right thing. However that happened to them, they also thought their cover was too good for them to be revealed. They were mistaken! Now what Emerson referred to as the Law of Compensation and what the common vernacular calls the title of this book…takes over!

A judge threw out the murder convictions of three New York men on Friday and admonished prosecutors for withholding evidence that cast serious doubt on their guilt.

They Spent 24 Years Behind Bars. Then the Case Fell Apart.

A judge threw out the murder convictions of three New York men on Friday and admonished prosecutors for withholding evidence that cast serious doubt on their guilt.

Gary Johnson after his release on Friday.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

March 5, 2021

On the weekend before Christmas in 1996, a shop owner was opening his check-cashing store in East Elmhurst, Queens, alongside an off-duty police officer who was working security, when the two were ambushed by a group of men, shot and killed.

The case touched off a ferocious manhunt, and within days, three men were arrested. They were convicted in separate trials and sentenced to between 50 years and life in prison for murder.

But more than two decades later, the case has collapsed.

On Friday, a state judge in Queens threw out the convictions of all three men and admonished prosecutors for withholding evidence that would have cast serious doubt on their guilt.

Prosecutors never turned over police reports showing that investigators had linked the killings to other men, the members of a local robbery ring. And five witness accounts — never seen by defense lawyers — contradicted the men’s confessions, which were wrong on key details of the crime, and which lawyers say were coerced.

The three men — Gary Johnson, 46, George Bell, 44, and Rohan Bolt, 59 — stepped outside the walls of Green Haven Correctional Facility, about 70 miles north of New York City, on Friday afternoon, each with tears streaming down their faces as they embraced their families. “We finally made it,” Mr. Bolt shouted, as he clutched two of his young grandchildren’s hands for the first time.

From left, George Bell, Rohan Bolt and Gary Johnson walked outside on Friday after they were released from the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, N.Y.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

“The district attorney’s office deliberately withheld from the defense credible information of third-party guilt,” Justice Joseph A. Zayas told the men, who appeared in court virtually. He said that the prosecution had “completely abdicated its truth-seeking role in these cases,” and suggested that may have been because prosecutors knew the evidence would have hurt the chances of convicting the men.

The Queens County district attorney, Melinda R. Katz, supported overturning the convictions because of the new evidence. But she stopped short of saying the men were innocent. Her office plans to review the case for 90 days before deciding whether to retry them.

“I cannot stand behind these convictions,” Ms. Katz said in a statement on Friday. “However, there is at this time insufficient evidence of actual innocence and therefore we are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate and examine the evidence.”

A review unit Ms. Katz created to investigate possible wrongful convictions found no intentional misconduct by the district attorney’s office. Justice Zayas disagreed on Friday, calling the office’s position “perplexing” and saying prosecutors had hidden evidence and misrepresented facts.

Lawyers had also said it took Ms. Katz’s office months to agree to release the men even after the evidence was reviewed. In their court filing, they argued that Ms. Katz’s position denied the men of “the complete justice they deserve,” with much of the initial evidence against them having fallen apart.

The Queens district attorney, Melinda Katz, created a review unit for wrongful convictions last year. But defense lawyers worry cases involving allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have faced lengthier delays.

Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times


“This should have been done a year ago. What were they doing that caused them to drag their feet?” said Mitchell Dinnerstein, one of Mr. Bell’s trial lawyers. He added that he believed the office had taken its position because it was “trying to protect” the prosecutors involved, one of whom still works there.

“I can’t think of any other explanation,” he said.

At the time of their arrests, Mr. Bell and Mr. Johnson were 19 and 22 years old, while Mr. Bolt, 35, was a restaurant owner and married father of four.

The city’s mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, had placed intense pressure on detectives to solve the case: One of the victims was the sixth officer killed that year, and Christmas Day was three days away.

But recently uncovered documents — police reports, records and notes — shed new light on the case.

The police reports connected members of a gang, known as Speedstick, to the murders. Two of the gang members had told detectives that another member had suggested he was involved, along with Speedstick’s leaders.

They Spent 24 Years Behind Bars. Then the Case Fell Apart.

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC