A Long Island, New York, man who spent 33 years in prison for the attempted rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl was exonerated of all charges on Wednesday. The ruling makes it the longest-running murder case to be vacated in New York state history, according to county officials. Keith Bush, now 62, was convicted of bludgeoning and strangling the teenager during an attempted sexual assault at a party in 1976. Bush confessed to the crime in a statement he maintains was forced by police, and consistently asserted his innocence. He was released in 2008, but was mandated to register as a level-three sex offender.
In 2018, the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office created the Conviction Integrity Bureau, prompting Bush to petition to have his case reviewed. The Bureau discovered that there was a second suspect—a fact that was never disclosed to attorneys. The Bureau also found that a witness who had testified she saw Bush at the party had lied and was not actually at the party herself. “I cannot give you that which was taken from you in the 1970s,” Judge Anthony Senft said to Bush in court Wednesday. “But what I can restore to you today is your presumption of innocence.”