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Unveiling the “Wilding”
Story by: Soyini Driskell


The Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, has decided to call today for the dismissal of the convictions of five men (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise) in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, including all charges that they participated in a gang rape and a rampage of muggings, according to two law enforcement officials who have read the legal papers.

Thirteen years ago, on April 19, one of the most infamous crimes in New York City history unfolded. The case dubbed “Wilding” was a sex attack on a 28 year old, female, investment banker who was jogging through the Upper West Side of Central Park when she was attacked, raped, and, apparently, left for dead. However, while the American public believed that this case ended when the five teenage boys charged in the case, Yusef Salaam, Kharey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson, were convicted; this is, in actuality, where the story begins.

The five teens were charged with a group attack on the victim in 1989. Four of the boys confessed, on videotape, to the crime and signed statements to the same effect. The boys, the youngest 14 years old, were each sent to various criminal facilities. They each grew up to be men in jail serving time for their crime. Yet, in January 2001, a serial sex attacker and murderer came forward, while in jail for another crime, and confessed to the crime that had kept these four, now men, from freedom.

This man, Matias Reyes, had raped and killed a pregnant woman in the presence of her young children and was, at the time of his confession, serving 33 1/3 years in prison. He confessed he said, “because this was what God wanted [him] to do.” This new turn in the case has sent shockwaves through the legal community.

Many people in support of the 5 men were outraged and upset at their wrongful imprisonment. The case has now prompted a new law to be enforced in the police departments “This law will make not only confessions be videotaped, but the police interrogation as well,” says New York City Council Man Bill Perkins. “We need this to ensure the safety of the members of our community.” Councilman Perkins lives in the apartment building in which two of the suspects, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise, grew up. Currently, Kharey Wise still lives there.

An interview with the Councilman allowed Harlem Live to learn what steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again. “We hope this new legislation will be what we need to keep something like this from happening again,” he said.
The admittance of Matias Reyes has served to provide a domino effect on the aspects of the case that, in 1989, succeeded in putting these men behind bars. After Reyes confession, his DNA was taken. An aspect of the original case, that was never resolved, was the fact that the DNA on the victim didn’t match the DNA of any of the five suspects. However, the DNA of Reyes that was taken matched the substances found on the jogger.

The Manhattan DA’s office is, now, going back in time. They are going back to the point where the case fell apart. They have to review the interrogations, the confessions, the facts, and the diagrams of the scene of the crime. Yet they still seem to feel that though the five suspects, who now are being regarded by some as victims, may be innocent of the rape, they may be guilty of any of the other attacks on bikers or joggers that night in Central Park. In addition to the rape of the jogger approximately 30 other people were victimized in the Park that night.

The five men have all been released from their respective facilities. The families have issued statements and the public has reacted. However, while this goes on, what was regarded as one of the most heinous crimes in New York City, may now go down in history as one a farce manufactured by the, now notorious, New York “Justice” System. To many, the justice was lost.

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