Meet Joe O'Brien
I want retrial, not a deal, to prove my
innocence, man says
BY OREN YANIV, NICOLE BODE and BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Friday, August 15th 2008, 12:52 AM
Bellamy was released from prison Thursday after
Queens Supreme Court Justice Joel Blumenfeld granted him
plea deal that would have ended his legal nightmare,
a Queens man jailed for 14 years is insisting on a
trial to prove he's innocent of murder - even at the
risk of landing back behind bars.
"Physically, I can hardly stand up now, but standing
up for the truth, for me, is more important than my
freedom," Kareem Bellamy, 41, said Thursday. "If God
wants me back in jail, that's the way it would
A judge threw out Bellamy's murder conviction and
ordered a new trial in June after his lawyers
produced a taped confession by a man claiming to be
the killer. Several key prosecution witnesses have
recanted their testimony since Bellamy's 1995 trial.
Bellamy could have closed the case Wednesday after
prosecutors offered to release him on time served if
he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
But Bellamy refused, saying he didn't kill anyone.
If convicted again, Bellamy faces 25 years to life
Prosecutors are appealing the judge's decision to
overturn the verdict.
Kareem Bellamy hugs mom, Geraldine.
"This moment right here is one of the happiest of my life,"
Bellamy said, emerging from the back door of Queens Criminal
"Words can't express how happy I am," said Bellamy, enjoying
an afternoon thundershower. "I can't believe I'm walking out
of here without an escort."
Bellamy smiled, showing off a gold-capped front tooth, and
pumped his fists in the air as he hugged his relatives and
lawyer Thomas Hoffman, who never wavered in their belief in
From the start, Bellamy has insisted he had nothing to do
with the 1994 fatal stabbing of James Abbott in Far
In a rare move, Bellamy's bail was posted by his pro bono
investigator, Joseph O'Brien, a former FBI agent and author
of bestselling mob book "Boss of Bosses."
"I felt strongly about it. He shouldn't have to spend
another day in jail," said O'Brien, who put up his
retirement condo in upstate New York to secure the bail.
"It's the right thing to do."
Bellamy's dad, Howard, called the judge an "angel from
"I'm happy he had the heart and consideration to do this for
my son," he said.
tough problems we solve right away.
The impossible ones ... may take a little longer."
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