Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Mistaken Identity Case Convicted Murderer from NYC

Mistaken Identity Case

Prosecutors said Thursday that a photo of another person with the same name led to a mistaken identity case. (Photo: The New York Times)

Prosecutors said Thursday that a photo of another person with the same name led to a mistaken identity case of a New York City man who has spent more than 18 years in prison for murder.

Sheldon Thomas’s prosecution, now 35, was “compromised from the start by grave errors and a lack of probable cause” to arrest him for the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Anderson Bercy on December 24, 2004, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

Thomas was one of three people charged in the drive-by shooting that killed Bercy and injured another teen.

The district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit investigated the case and discovered that the lead detective in the Bercy shooting requested that a prior arrest of Thomas be unsealed for allegedly pointing an inoperable gun at police officers so that detectives could use his picture in a photo lineup.

Detectives also obtained a photo of a different Sheldon Thomas and showed it to a witness in Bercy’s shooting who was being questioned. According to the investigation, the witness identified the second Sheldon Thomas as being in the car from which the shots were fired.

READ ALSO: Triple Murder Case: New York Man Convicted

According to investigators, detectives went to the home of the first Sheldon Thomas and arrested him based on that identification which later revealed was a mistaken identity case.

The faulty photo identification was revealed during a pretrial hearing in June 2006, when Detective Robert Reedy admitted on cross-examination that the defendant’s photo was not in the lineup.

Despite this, according to investigators, the judge determined probable cause to arrest Thomas based on “verified information from unknown callers” and the fact that he allegedly resembled the other Thomas.

Thomas was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges and sentenced to life in prison for 25 years, but it was just another mistaken identity case.

Conviction Review Unit investigators reinterviewed witnesses and discovered that the detectives, particularly Reedy, had harassed Thomas after his earlier gun arrest. They coached a witness to identify Thomas as one of the shooters in the Bercy killing because they “were intent on arresting the defendant.”

Reedy was later disciplined after an investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau. A phone message left Thursday seeking comment on the re-investigation into the 2004 shooting was answered by a number listed for Robert Reedy.

Thomas was scheduled to appear in court Thursday before Brooklyn state Supreme Court Judge Matthew J. D’Emic. In its report, the district attorney’s office stated that the conviction should be overturned and the case should not be retried due to flawed evidence.

READ ALSO: Absolu Against Triple Murder Case Filed For Retrial

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *