Sitting in his home on Tuesday, as his video image was shown as part of a remote court hearing that would declare him innocent of an execution-style murder that he was convicted of 25 years ago, Samuel Brownridge wiped away tears and began to speak.

“First, I would thank my mother, who is no longer here with us and was not able to see me get exonerated,” said Brownridge to those attending the Queens Supreme Court hearing, as he thought about the 25 years he had spent in prison wrongly and about what had occurred in a case that, by all accounts—from the statements made at the hearing by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, to the emotional words spoken by presiding Justice Joseph Zayas, to the miscarriage of justice detailed by Brownridge’s appellate counsel, Donna Aldea—had failed him at every level.

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