After Serving Decades in Prison for Murder, Two Men Fought to Clear Their Names

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For years, the staff writer Jennifer Gonnerman has reported on the case of Eric Smokes and David Warren. When they were teen-agers in Brooklyn, in 1987, Smokes and Warren were convicted of second-degree murder during the mugging of a tourist; the papers called them “the Times Square Two.” It was the testimony of another teen-ager, James Walker, who received a reduced sentence in a separate case for his coöperation, that sent them to prison. Ever since, Warren and Smokes have protested their innocence, and Walker later acknowledged that he had lied. But in requesting parole, after years in prison, the two men had to take responsibility for their crime, and four years ago, a judge denied their appeal. Gonnerman tells the story of their long fight for justice, and how it finally came to pass.

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