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They served 36 years in prison, but witnesses knew the truth: the 'Harlem Park Three' were innocent.

MH SAO FB Harlem Park Three
Alfred Chestnut, center, celebrates after his exoneration and release on November 25, 2019 in Baltimore, MD. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart were wrongfully convicted of murder in 1984. Credit: Baltimore SAO Facebook Page

After the deadly shooting of a West Baltimore 9th grader in 1983, police and prosecutors coerced the testimony of witnesses. Three innocent young men - known as the Harlem Park Three - were sentenced to life in prison for felony murder. Then, in 2019, they were released.

Jennifer Gonnerman writes about this case for The New Yorker, in a piece titled, “When a Witness Recants.”

And Baltimore City Deputy State's Attorney Lauren Lipscomb describes building the case for exoneration. Watch a video about the case, produced by the State's Attorney's Office. Find more information about the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.