NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Mark Denny was 17 when he went to prison. Now, at 46, he is a free man after being cleared of a vicious crime he did not commit.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office reinvestigated a rape and robbery at a Burger King in 1987 and concluded that three men were responsible but Denny was not one of them and was not there. The DA said the victim misidentified her attacker as Denny.
In court, Denny spoke about her, saying he has no ill will toward her because of what she went through and that he wishes he could have been her hero that day but he wasn't there.
About nine years ago, Denny gained the attention of the Innocence Project, an organization committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people. The Innocence Project then contacted the Brooklyn DA.
Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said he is committed to righting past wrongs and is glad to give Denny back his good name.
Denny said he was able to survive in prison by the grace of god. He said even in prison among other inmates, sex offenders are stigmatized. He called prison "torture" and that he wanted to kill himself.
Denny's mother said she never gave up on her son. She lost her apartment because of his legal costs.
After nearly 30 years in prison, maintaining his innocence the entire time, Denny offers hope to others who've been wrongly convicted: "Keep your head up and keep pushing forward."
To date, the work of the Brooklyn DA's conviction review unit has resulted in 24 convictions being vacated. The unit is reviewing about 100 other cases.