After serving nearly 20 years for a crime he did not commit, Marvin Haynes has been exonerated and released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater.
"Now you all can recognize that I'm actually innocent," he said to a crowd gathered outside the prison. "I'm just happy that I can correct my narrative - I'm so happy."
When asked what he was going to do first, Haynes said "I'm going to see my mom."
At a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center, Haynes called out the work of his sister Marvina, along with a group of advocates who dedicated themselves to overturning his sentence.
The release was announced this morning by the Great North Innocence Project (GNIP), of which Haynes is a client. In 2004 Haynes was charged with first-degree murder in a robbery turned homicide at a Minneapolis flower shop. He was just 16 at the time.
The Court affirmed that Haynes was denied his right to due process. No physical evidence was presented at Haynes’ original trial, other than eyewitness statements. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office agreed with GNIP’s argument that “the identification procedures used to convict Mr. Haynes were inconsistent with best practices and unnecessarily suggestive.”
In addition, a retired police officer involved in the original investigation gave testimony on Marvin Haynes' behalf, stating that he objected to some of the witness lineup procedures, but was overruled.
According to GNIP, two witnesses recanted their original statements, reporting that "they made their original statements only after police told them they could face their own criminal charges if they did not cooperate."