On 15 November, 1989, 15-year-old student from Peekskill, New York, Angela Correa, left her home with her cassette player and camera in search of subjects for her photography class. When she didn’t return home her family called the police. Her badly beaten body was discovered two days later; she had been beaten, raped, and then strangled to death. Authorities zoned in on her classmate, 17-year-old Jeffrey Deskovic, who was said to have arrived to school late the day after Angela disappeared. He also apparently behaved “overly distraught” by her death, often visiting her grave.
Classmates said that Jeffrey was particularly fond of Angela because she was one of the very few students that actually spoke to him. Jeffrey was questioned a number of times about the murder of Angela and was taken to a private polygraph business at the request of the local Sheriff’s Department. The real motive behind this was to “get the confession” as revealed during trial. Jeffrey was held in a small room without a lawyer or parent. As well as this, he was provided with no food and intensely interrogated. His so-called confession came after six grueling hours. Regardless of the fact that his DNA did not match that of the semen found on Angela, Jeffrey was arrested and the prosecution attempted to strengthen his coerced confession.
The prosecution attempted to argue that the semen came from a consensual partner and that Jeffrey was the real killer, which he staunchly denied. With not a shred of evidence against him and going on his coerced confession alone, which he had immediately recanted, Jeffrey was found guilty of murder in 1991. Jeffrey sat in prison until September 2006, when the DNA from the semen found on Angela’s body was tested again and lo and behold, the semen was matched to convicted murderer Steven Cunningham, who was serving time for strangling the sister of his girlfriend.
On 20 September, 2006, Jeffrey was released from prison after his conviction was overturned. Jeffrey won a $41.6 million lawsuit for his wrongful conviction and now works as an advocate for reforming the criminal justice system.