“Get on with our life. Don’t dwell in the past.
Make the most of what you’ve got.”
Bellamy, who has also maintained he never knifed James Abbott Jr. to
death in Rockaway in April 1994, said the first thing he would do
was visit his family down south.
Kareem Bellamy, who was convicted and served 14
years in jail for the murder of James Abbott in 1994, stands outside
court Friday following the judge's decision to dismiss the case
"Now I get to go to Virginia and try to
reconnect with my 21-year-old daughter," said a thankful Bellamy who
was only 28-years-old when he was sent to prison, leaving his two
young children without a father.
"I can't say thank you enough to the judge and
to the justice system," said an overwhelmed Bellamy.
Bellamy had been sentenced to 25 years to life
in prison for the murder.
"The truth was in the march and nothing could
stop us," said Thomas Hoffman who originally represented Bellamy and
was always convinced of his client's innocence.
In 2008, former FBI agent Joseph O'Brien and
retired NYPD Detective Eddie Henson, took his case pro bono and
thoroughly canvassed Far Rockaway for months.
They found a recording of another man
confessing to the vicious stabbing in 2008 which prompted Judge
Blumfeld to order a new trial and free Bellamy. O’Brien, convinced
that Bellamy had been railroaded, even put his own upstate condo up
for collateral to secure his bail. But, Bellamy’s travel was
restricted and he was compelled to wear an ankle monitor.
As prosecutors prepared for the re-trial, they
concluded the alleged stabber was a career criminal who was
allegedly paid to make the phony confession, but thier attempts to
have the tape tossed as evidence failed.
"Mr. Bellamy has now been freed from that
conviction based on an outright fraud perpetrated against this
court. He has not -- I repeat -- he has not been exonerated,” said
prosecutor Brad Leventhal. "This is not a case of actual innocence.
The sole basis for the vacatur of this defendant's 15-year-old
conviction by this court was the patently false testimony of Michael
Green, a career criminal who received a substantial amount of money
from the defense which induced his original hearing testimony and
who admittedly told this court he had hoped to receive even more
money in the future."
The judge also ordered to have Bellamy’s
tracking device removed and the $150,000 bail O'Brien posted to be
returned. Bellamy, who is now studying to become a medical biller,
said he doesn’t understand why prosecutors kept gunning for him.
“Do they want James to come out of the grave
and say, 'He didn't kill me?'" he asked.