Martin Sheen has come out in support of a convicted murderer, saying that his case "cries out for justice".
Sheen met prisoner Jon-Adrian Velazquez at prison on Monday and told a news conference after the meeting that he “confirmed my belief that he is an innocent man”.
"I don't think there's anybody who's fair-minded who's not going to be outraged by this.
"I came away inspired. He is a young man on fire with the truth," Sheen added.
Velazquez is convicted of fatally shooting Albert Ward, a retired police officer, in an underground betting parlor in 1998. He is currently serving a 25-year sentence for the offense.
The Associate Press reports that his lawyers, Robert C. Gottlieb and Celia A. Gordon, are trying to persuade Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus. R. Vance Jr. to re-investigate the case.
With no DNA or any physical evidence against the convicted Velazquez, "this case is strictly the result of eyewitness misidentification" from photo arrays and line ups, Gottlieb said.
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The victim, Ward, retired from the police force in 1977 and was 59 at the time he was shot in a Harlem betting parlor. Authorities say two men came in on Jan. 27, 1998 and announced a stick up. When Ward pulled his gun and proceeded to fire, the robbers fired back, hitting him in the face and killing him.
After one witness picked Velazquez's photo out of a police book, that witness and three others positively identified him in a line-up.
Velazquez and another man, Darry Daniels, were charged. Daniels pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 12 years. He testified during his plea that Velazquez was his partner in the robbery and he had shot Ward, however, he was never called to give evidence at Velazquez' trial.
The suspect was described as a black man with braids; however, Velazquez is Hispanic and wore his hair short, his lawyers said.
A segment on his case is set to air on Jan. 8 on "Dateline: NBC."
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