Nassau man's murder conviction overturned after 3 decades behind bars
A Nassau man who spent 30 years behind bars was released Monday after his murder conviction in the death of a Hofstra coach was overturned.
Christopher Ellis walked out of a Nassau courthouse a free man and reunited with his family and friends.
Ellis had been serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the 1990 killing of Hofstra football coach Joseph Healy in Hempstead.
His conviction was overturned because new evidence showed that notes taken by a detective that pointed to other possible suspects were not disclosed to the defense during trial.
Attorney Ilann Maazel says Ellis maintained his innocence from the beginning and blames the investigators who put him behind bars.
"The Nassau County Police Department hid evidence, hid leads, hid confessions," says Maazel. "They coerced confessions. They violated the law."
A spokesperson for the Nassau District Attorney's office says any wrongdoing was likely accidental, writing, "The NCDA has no basis to believe that the failure to disclose the notes was intentional or that the prosecutor was even aware of their existence."
The prosecutor in the case has since died.
Ellis says he's thankful to have his freedom back.
"I want to just run to the car so we can get out of here," says Ellis. "I'm just happy to be out here and see family. Glad to be home."
Prosecutors say they have not decided whether Ellis will be tried again. Ellis' attorneys have a conference with the judge scheduled next month.
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