Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that she will move today to vacate the conviction of a Bronx man in the 2009 murder of a teenage boy, after a review of the case by the District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit determined that the defendant did not receive a fair trial.
District Attorney Clark said, “Steven Odiase is serving 25 years-to-life for murder, but the Conviction Integrity Unit has uncovered potentially exculpatory evidence that was not provided to the defense at the time of trial. Because Odiase did not receive a fair trial, I will ask the Court on Monday, April 17, 2017, to vacate Odiase’s conviction in the interest of justice so he can be freed as soon as possible while we determine whether to retry him.
“The unearthing of the exculpatory evidence highlights the value of a Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). The unit did an exhaustive re-investigation of this case, which involved the senseless killing of a 15-year-old boy.”
The hearing on vacating the conviction will take place at 2 p.m. today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett in Room 300 in the Bronx Hall of Justice.
Odiase, 31, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after a trial in Bronx Supreme Court in 2013. He was convicted by a jury of second-degree Murder and second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Juan Jerez, who was shot at the corner of Minerva Place and Creston Avenue on June 12, 2009.
His co-defendant, Daikwan Giles, confessed to the shooting, and was identified by eyewitnesses. He was convicted in the same trial.
Odiase’s lawyers filed a post-conviction motion to set aside the verdict in July 2015, and then in 2016, his attorneys Pierre Sussman, Jonathan Edelstein and Robert Grossman asked the CIU to review the case and agreed to stay the motion.
Assistant District Attorney Risa Gerson, a veteran appellate defender who joined the CIU in September, 2016, was given the case and reviewed hundreds of documents and interviewed key witnesses. Gerson discovered in the case file a DD5 (a detective’s form summarizing the canvass of the murder scene) that apparently was not provided to the defense.
Gerson turned it over to the defense in February, 2017. In March, 2017, Sussman told Gerson that Odiase’s defense team had been given the DD5, but information had been redacted from their version. The missing information was a witness’ description of the shooter that did not match Odiase.