S5E10: Tortured by Police, Failed by the Justice System, & Locked up in Hell on a Putrid Prison Ship: Angel Cordero’s Fight for Freedom
Angel Cordero was convicted in 1999 of attempted murder and robbery of then-Boston University freshman Jason Mercado, who was attacked and stabbed by strangers while walking in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Four plainclothes Bronx Gang Unit cops driving by the scene observed the tail end of the assault and quickly arrested five men out of the crowd, including Angel Cordero, who at age 26 had no prior criminal record, and his brother, Ramon Rivas. Three of the five young men pleaded guilty in exchange for lesser sentences, but Angel Cordero and Ramon Rivas refused to plead guilty and went to trial. At trial, multiple people testified that a man named Dario Rodriguez had committed the stabbing. In addition, the three confessed assailants also told police that Angel and his brother were not involved. Both brothers were found guilty of second-degree attempted murder, robbery in the first degree, and assault in the first degree, and they were both sentenced to 15 years in prison. Ramon Rivas won his appeal due to judicially inappropriate actions made by the court and was released 6 years into his sentence. Angel Cordero served 13 years in prison despite numerous statements from witnesses that he was not involved, as well as the 2007 confession of longtime drug dealer Dario Rodriguez, who admitted he actually committed the crime. Angel Cordero was released on parole in 2012, and he is still fighting for exoneration with his attorneys at the Innocence Project. In this episode, he is joined by his biggest supporter, his wife Michelle Cordero, who married him while he was still in prison.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.