Thursday, August 02, 2007

Must-See TV: Dateline NBC To Broadcast 2-Hour Documentary About Two Men Claiming Innocence, on Sunday, August 5th, 7p.m to 9 p.m. (EDT and PDT)

(New York) – July 26, 2007 – As a controversial retrial looms for David Lemus, a man who served 15 years in prison before having his murder conviction overturned in 2005, NBC News' Peacock Productions presents its first feature length documentary film about his case, "In the Shadow of Justice." The two-hour broadcast, airing on Sunday, Aug. 5 (7:00 p.m. ET), advances Dateline's groundbreaking 2005 investigative report on the 1990 murder of Palladium nightclub bouncer, Markus Peterson, and immerses viewers in a case that made headlines as it unfolded.

While The Manhattan District Attorney's office insists Lemus is guilty of the murder, and is retrying him, they declined to comment on the film. However, the 23-year veteran Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bibb who argued at a hearing to keep Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo (the other man convicted in the murder) in prison is now speaking out for the first time in the film. He says as he led a re-investigation of the case, he became convinced the men were innocent. He has since left the DA's office, saying he was tortured by the fact that his superiors, in his account, forced him to argue to keep two innocent men in prison.

Bibb says, "The people making the decisions (within the DA's office) wanted to go to the hearing." When pressed specifically about District Attorney Morganthau's involvement in the decision-making process, Bibb replies, "…He was aware of what was going on."

NBC's interest in the case began in 2002 when Dateline producers were granted rare access to Bronx homicide detectives Bobby Addolorato and John Schwartz as they re-investigated the case. Our cameras were rolling as the detectives discovered astonishing new evidence suggesting that Lemus and Hidalgo might actually be innocent. The detectives also believe they uncovered documents that suggest the DA's office buried evidence that proved Lemus and Hidalgo were innocent.

After the Dateline report aired, not only were the two men exonerated and able to go home to live with their families for the first time in 15 years, but weeks later a man who many believed to be the real shooter was arrested. The man, Thomas "Spanky" Morales, had appeared in the broadcast after NBC producers tracked him down. "Spanky," who spent nearly 18 months in jail awaiting trial for this murder, is now a free man after a judge threw out his case saying law enforcement had the obligation to arrest him years ago based on the ample evidence it possessed pointing to him as the shooter.

In the end, "In the Shadow of Justice" documents how the case changed many lives forever. For detectives Addolorato and Schwartz, it was a journey of conscience and confrontation that they say ended their careers. The film includes exclusive interviews with defendants Lemus and Hildago, eyewitnesses to the crime, family members, attorneys, the foreperson of the jury, Carol Kramer, who voted to convict the men and then asked for their release, and Thomas "Spanky" Morales.

David Corvo is the executive producer; Adam Gorfain is the senior producer; Daniel Slepian is the producer; Michael Nardi is the field producer; and Robert O. Allen is the editor.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I AM COMPLETELY APPALLED AT THE STORY YOU AIRED SUNDAY NIGHT AND THE MANHATTAN DA OFFICE CONTINUING TO PURSUE DAVID LEMUS!! WHAT DOES THIS POOR GUY HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO REALLY BE FREE?? AND WHY DOES THE MANHATTAN DA OFFICE CONTINUALLY ABUSE IT'S POWER?? IT WAS VERY SAD TO SEE THE TWO COPS WHO BROKE THE CASE NOT ONLY BE HUMILIATED AMONG THEIR PEERS, BUT ALSO LOSE THEIR JOBS! THEY ARE VERY BRAVE, LOYAL AND FULL OF INTEGRITY AND THEY DID A VERY GOOD THING---WE SHOULD ALL BE OUTRAGED AT THIS STORY AND THE PEOPLE OF MANHATTAN SHOULD BE SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS AT THE ARROGANT AND CRIMINAL MANHATTAN DA!!!!!!!! HAS THERE BEEN SOME SORT OF GRASSROOTS EFFORT STARTED TO HELP DAVID LEMUS ONE MORE TIME??

Truth in Justice Files said...

I find it hard to believe that, in a state as densely populated as New York, no one has filed an ethics complaint against DA Morganthau for this. Not only should he be denied re-election, he should be disbarred.

Anonymous said...

where is spanky morales?

Truth in Justice Files said...

To the best of our knowledge, Spanky Morales is living in the NYC area. Because the Manhattan DA waited YEARS to charge Morales in the Palladium shooting, the charges were dismissed. Morales doesn't have to worry about being charged now -- only David Lemus, the innocent man, will be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the criminal justice community in California, I am appaled at the length of time it took the DA's Office to investigate after all the evidence presented by the NYPD investigators. Then to retry the David Lemus again....

I like to think our DA's office would be more responsive.

Carlota said...

I would like to commend you on this excellently documented piece. The Manhattan DA's office is a disgrace. This is something you'd expect to happen in a third world country. Did Lemus & Hidalgo sue? If not they should sue. From your documentary it is obivious who the real criminals are and should be put in prison. Mr Bibbs kept 2 innocent men in prison because he had to pay his mortgage. After the documentary he tries to make himself look good by claiming he threw the trial. It leaves a lot to be said when criminals and murders have more integrity those who are paid to uphold the law. Bobby Addalorato, John Schwartz and Steve Cohen are the real heroes of this story and give us hope.

Anonymous said...

I thought there was no statute of limitations on murder. Spanky Morales should charged with this crime no matter how long it took the DA. Is there a petition going around?

Truth in Justice Files said...

You are correct, there is no statute of limitations for murder. Spanky Morales was charged with murder -- because of the enormous pressure brought to bear by these officers and the media -- but the charge was dismissed for lack of evidence! There is, of course, no interest on the part of the DA in further pursuing it.