Monday, February 10, 2014

Man Freed From Prison After 22 Years

The court vacated his murder conviction after 22 years.  What follows is an article from the NY Daily News.  We also have a letter from his friend who turned state evidence against him:

  analyze for yourself and enter in comments section.  What do you make of the recantation?

Question for analysis:  Is the recantation reliable?

It can be "unreliable" yet they still did not "do it" and more information is needed.  

It is folly to have police type up a confession and have a person sign it, rather than have the subject write his own.  

Taste of freedom for man at last as his triple murder conviction is vacated after 22 years

Anthony Yarbough walked the Brooklyn streets as a free man after a judged tossed the verdict in the 1992 triple murder of Yarbough's mother, step-sister and her friend.

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Anthony Yarbough enjoys some pineapple cheesecake at Junior's restaurant Thursday after a judge vacated his conviction for the 1992 killings of his mother, half-sister and her friend.

The judge vacated his triple-murder conviction, the guards unlocked his hand and foot shackles, the courtroom broke into tears and applause. And for the first time in nearly 22 years Tony Yarbough was a free man.
One week before his 40th birthday, he hugged his aunt Sandra Vivas and cousin Sylvia Vivas and walked with stunted steps like he was still shackled out into the hallway of the 19th-floor Kings County Supreme Court building. He staggered into a storm of cameras and turned into a lawyer-client conference room with Phil Smallman and Zach Margulis-Ohuma, who worked four tenacious years to spring him.
He plopped in a chair in an crazy daze of freedom. I asked him what he missed most.
“My mom and my little sister,” he said on Thursday. “I did 22 years for killing them and my little niece, which I never did. And now that I’m free, I still miss them. I always, always will. I don’t even know where they’re buried.”
Yarbough, 39, is unshackled at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn after his conviction was vacated,


Yarbough, 39, is unshackled at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn after his conviction was vacated,

He dropped his head in his arms and sobbed softly and then excused himself as he knelt and rested his head in his hands on his chair and said a prayer as his big body rattled with the electrified emotions of liberty and exoneration.
Forgive me,” he said. “I said a prayer to my mom. Asked her to watch over me as I try to make the best of the rest of my life. My mother was a lady with problems like we all have. But she had a wonderful heart.”
On the morning of June 18, 1992, Yarbough came home from a night of partying in Manhattan with his friend Sharrif Wilson to find the bodies of his mother, Annie Yarbough, 40, her daughter, Chavonn Barnes, and Latasha Knox, both 12, stabbed and strangled with electrical wires.
He was arrested for those crimes although there were no witnesses, physical evidence or real motive connecting him to the crimes. Wilson, a scared boy of 15, would eventually confess to committing the murders with Yarbough. But in 1999, while both were still in prison, another woman was murdered in Brooklyn in similar fashion.
Yarbough, 39, celebrates his newfound freedon with family and friends at Junior's restaurant on Thursday.


Yarbough, 39, celebrates his newfound freedon with family and friends at Junior's restaurant on Thursday.

Last year, the medical examiner’s office discovered that the DNA found in the woman murdered in 1999 matched the DNA found under Yarbough’s mother’s fingernails in 1992.
The two lawyers who had been working on the case for four years appealed to the court and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office to free both men. Wilson recanted his false confession before the DNA match and passed a polygraph requested by the Brooklyn DA.
On Thursday — 7,903 days after Tony Yarbough was incarcerated — Justice Raymond Guzman vacated the conviction with the blessing of the new Brooklyn DA, Kenneth Thompson.
“I cannot thank my two lawyers enough,” Yarbough said. “They believed in me, stuck by me, fought for me.”
Yarbough reacts as his conviction was dismissed.


Yarbough reacts as his conviction was dismissed.

He took a deep breath and said, “If there had been a death penalty in New York I would be dead by now. But instead I have lived long enough to get my freedom and be exonerated.”
He walked from the room and spoke to the press and rode the elevator down stairs and stepped out onto frigid Jay St. where he gulped the free winter air of Brooklyn. “I want the person who did this to my family to be caught and have to live through the hell I went through for 22 years,” he said. “I want to start my life with a clean slate.
Yarbough will reside in a Fortune Society residence until he can find employment. The group helps former inmates adjust to life on the outside.
Someone dialed a cell phone, something he’d never used, and he spoke to his grandmother who still lives in the Coney Island Houses where the murders occurred.
Yarbough hugs supporters in court.


Yarbough hugs supporters in court.

Grandma, it’s Tony,” he said. I’m out. I’m free. I love you. And I will be seeing you soon.”
Then Tony Yarbough walked through the streets of downtown Brooklyn to Junior’s on Flatbush Ave. to eat his first meal as a free man.
God is good,” he said. “It just feels so weird walking on the streets of Brooklyn again as a free man.”
Welcome home.

PLEASE NOTE:  Here is the letter written by his friend, who had confessed to the murder and implicated Tony Yarborough. 



Anonymous said...

Starts with pleasantries, trying to curry favor first rather than just stating the facts.

"Cuz I'm confused." If they are truly innocent, there's nothing to be confused about. And "cuz" gets to Why, which indicates sensitivity.

"I turned states evidence on him" acknowledges that the confession was evidence. An innocent person might instead have said, "I falsely accused Tony."

"We never did anything." That's not a good denial like "Neither Tony nor I killed his mother and sister." Instead the statement is spreading the guilt with the choice of the word "we," it uses the word never instead of did not (and never is a red flag), and it uses the word anything instead of specifically denying the killings.

"Never been locked up *for a crime*" could suggest that he knows he was involved in a crime.

"for me to walk in to a case like ours was mind boggling." Ours. Pronouns don't lie.

Fear that if he didn't turn on Tony, Tony would turn on him suggests potential guilt of one or both. If both were innocent, they would have just stated that.

Tony was "scared." Not upset about the death of his mother and sister, but scared for himself. This is second-hand, but suggestive of guilty knowledge on Tony's part.

"We were the bad guys." Embedded statement.

"I said the same thing cuz it was true." This establishes believability, because if untrue, this would be a lie about a lie, which people can't do. However, the question here was about where they were the night before, and a truthful answer about the party doesn't fully establish innocence of the killings.

"It was a confession." This could be okay, because he's saying how he feels like he was tricked into signing a confession. But again, it's a bit of an embedded admission.

"Me and Tony was lovers which his mother didn't approve and that we wanted money for drugs so we killed his family..." That's a *long* embedded confession.

Overall, the statement appears deceptive due to a number of indicators.

Anonymous said...

The statement seems deceptive and if statement analysis is reliable, it seems as if they were involved, but the new DNA evidence is confusing me.

Jo said...

“Forgive me,” he said. “I said a prayer to my mom. Asked her to watch over me as I try to make the best of the rest of my life. My mother was a lady with problems like we all have. But she had a wonderful heart.”

Forgive me = I'm sorry. Why would she need to forgive him for being falsely accused?

Disparages the victim by saying she had problems.

Anonymous said...

DNA may show someone else was there but does not prove he was not.

Anonymous said...

Way too much going on in the letter, Tonys statement and the DNA evidence along with another murder commited in a similar fashion. I can't say that I believe their guilty undoubtedly.

Tania Cadogan said...

Embedded is "we killed his family which is dead wrong. when we did not"

Unreliable denial he doesn't say i or we did not kill his family.

He says killed his family which is dead wrong followed by "We did not"
This is an unreliable denail since he doesn't tell us what they did not do.

It is interesting to see he says he got in the police car as tony looked scared, in which case why did they both go to the station if Tony was the one in the car already?
Is he skipping the fact the police placed him in the car as opposed to him getting in off his own bat?

"me and Tony did not do anything"
B Violates the principle of a reliable denial since he doesn't say they did not kill his family.
Did not do anything means nothing.

If they were innocent why would they turn on each other?

John Mc Gowan said...

I stopped analyzing after this.

"My mother was a lady with problems like we all have".

He still disparages his Mum after all these years.

Sus said...

The friend gives a pretty decent timeline in past tense, "...we hung out at his house until 10:00 pm then we went to the village to party. "That we did until about 4:00 am."

Here the account changes. He states, "we headed home." He doesn't say they made it home.

At that point he inserts WHY he was staying with Tony. Yet the very next night he chose to sleep in the hallway of another friend's house.

Now he skips time and goes to present tense...without ever saying they reached Tony's home. "Well, it's June 18th, 1992 We go back to Coney Island." Go back to?? When were they at Coney Island.

Something is off about the day and night of the 18th. I think the friend's confession was false because he wasn't with Tony or didn't go home with him. He can't say what Tony did in that home.

C5H11ONO said...

I apologize for being off topic. I recently watched a show where there was a controversy regarding Butch Cassidy and whether he survived the shooting in Bolivia. His younger sister was interviewed and she claimed to have seen him. I found an interview of Lula Parker Betenson from the 1960's (thereabouts) where she spoke about her encounter with Butch Cassidy. She was interviewed by Alan Whicker.

First Video link:

What I found interesting is that in the first video she discusses the last time her mother saw Butch and how sad it was. Except, she stated at the end “What a terrible parting that would be”. If it wasn’t a terrible parting only a terrible parting that it would be, I can only believe that she is retelling the story as someone told her, she may have been to young (she refers as being the baby). I just found that interesting that she didn’t state it as a terrible parting that it was.
Below is a transcript of just that portion:

The morning he left, I’ve heard them say he had the dog there, old dash, and a big yellow dog and and he wanted to go with him, and he patted him put a rope around his neck and said no boy you can’t go with me this time. And My mother fixed lunch for him, put food and she filled his pockets full of raisins from down in Dixie so he’d have something and took a big blanket he said mom I can’t take all of this but she insisted that it be cold and she gave him a blanket. He took her in his arms, sh she was small, he just took her up off her feet and he gave her the rope said to her to hold the dog so he could (may have been couldn’t, but nor audible) follow. He got on his horse he didn’t look back he rode away as fast as he could go. My mother stood and watched him and then she went back and she had flowers just coming up in the spring you know and she went and fooled around with them to get rid of her tears ‘til she came in with the kids you know and she heard me cry, I was the baby and she came in, but she always put the bright side out, she did for my father I know, she was no complainer, and what a what a terrible parting that would be.

I have to cry I can’t help it.
She never saw him again?
No. but I know she just lived with him in a way, I’m sure she did.

C5H11ONO said...

In the second video (link below)
Second Video link (she speaks of her encounter at 3:20 +/-)

Transcript of portion where she discusses Butch returning:

Yes, they decided and they decided to go straight, that’s what they went for, they made their last big haul and they left and they intended to go straight.

Now did he escape from all those Bolivian soldiers at San Vicente and come back here?

He hardly knew anything about it, until he got back here. He heard more about it back here than he did there. And you know it has, there have almost proven that it never did happen. But there must have been something, because his friend, his good friend who lived who owned the tin mines there he worked for them and whoever he worked for he was true to, if he had a friend he was true, and he carried the the money for them. And he identified?(unintelligible) them as But Cassidy and Sun Dance Kid. And my father said when he came home, “Why would your friend do a thing like that?” He said he couldn’t have helped me more. He said I had helped save his life and his friends twice, and he said that was my only way to live the way I wanted to.

So the miner spread the story that they have been killed.

Now 16 years after that he came here in 1925? What sort of a man was he? You never seen him before had you?
No No Never had seen him before.
Oh, I don’t know he was so, oh we were so happy to have him, he was still full of fun and could tell a good joke, he had the world beat, first thing he done was take his hat off and throw it and hit the corner of the nail. He’d been in the habit of doing that when he was a boy. He’d hit a nail or a chair or something with his hat and he’d greet?(unintelligible) and of course father knew him at once and it was a great greeting and then Mark came, my brother Mark came down to si tell me that my dad would like me to come up and get dinner for them and so I did and I had just baked bread and made pie so I took a loaf of bread and pie with me and we went up and went in the back door didn he didn’t tell me who it was. They used to have so much company, my folks always had company and good company and so we went in and I looked at him and I thought he must belong you know he had that look and, but I didn’t know and father said, I bet Lula that you don’t know who this is. This is R.. this is Leroy and of course I was, my knees just shook, you know I had that feeling of just like I was going to collapse. But oh he took me in his arms and he was just he was just one of us always. So we had dinner with I remember we had lamb chops boys had brought some down from the hills and I had the pie and he said you know this p bread is almost as good as ma could make and then when he had the pie he said, blueberry pie how I’ve longed for it. He says I’ve never tasted it since I was here. But and we stayed up and visit most of the night and course he stayed here with dad for some time and then he went out in the hills with the boys. We didn’t tell anybody because Butch just said this is just as well to keep this under your hat. And dad says if that’s, he tried to get him to stay, but he wouldn’t, he says if that’s what you want that what it’ll be. He was here better than 2 weeks, and then he went, I think then he went out to Price and out that way, and he went to Wyoming while he was here, I have letters to that affect you know.

When he left you never saw him again?

What do you think of her veracity? I know she was 94 years old when she conducted the interview, but she seemed to know her surroundings and held a conversation with the interviewer. I am confused because she said “And you know it has, there have almost proven that it never did happen.” Where she added “almost” proven that it never did happen, which means something was proven. Do you think Butch Cassidy returned? Let’s solve the mystery through Statement Analysis!

John Mc Gowan said...

This vt is a MUST watch.

My Body Language anttenae has gone through the roof. I will post my findings on this soon. Also, SA analysis spiked too.

Antonio Yarbough, Sharrif Wilson Exonerated For Triple Murder After Decades In Prison.

Ivanna-Anna said...

After reading it once, I believe Sharrif. I noticed a lot of unexpect things in the letter and I think that's why I believe him:

Because everything stood out, nothing did.

Ivanna-Anna said...

I'm undecided regarding Yarbough. I'd like to see more of what he has said.

Here are a couple of things:

He said his mother had problems, which is unexpected.

He also said "They believed in me, stuck by me, fought for me." in stood out. I would have expected "they believed me."

Sella35 said...

Subject quote "And now that I’m free, I still miss them."

Is he saying he did not miss them before he was free?

Sella35 said...

Subject quote,"And now that I’m free, I still miss them." Weird choice of words... Why wouldn't he miss them before he was free? Is it because now that he is free...he could go see them...but while in prison, they would have to come see him??

Anonymous said...

For the hockey lover:

Anonymous said...

my gut from reading all of this is that they are guity. but the friend realized later they would not have been imprisoned if he had not confessed. because there was not enough other evidence to convict.

in the beginning of the letter he says he is confused. reminds me of amanda knox.

I actually have sypmathy for the boys -- kids who kill their parents must have been suffering greatly to do such a thing. but I realize that is beside the point. I have no doubt these two boys did the crime. as to why somebody else was found killed the same way -- with the same dna -- that does throw a wrench in all of this. I don't know the explanation for that. but from their language -- they either did it -- or they have come to believe that they did it.

Anonymous said...

so you think amanda is innocent too. good catch.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that so many people STILL seem to be confused about how pervasive and insidious false confessions are.

This is a CLASSIC false confession-- and the "confusion" is a tell-tale state of mind for a false confessor.

It IS confusing, because they don't understand why they confessed or even what really happened.

It is a very COMMON phenomenon, probably much more common than popularly reported or even understood.

The commenters here are acting in a 'logical' way-- assuming the confession is legitimate and then trying to find "buried indicators of guilt" in the retraction.

Also, for statement analyzers, context is critical. the word "forgive me" as quoted is a statement made to the reporter after the man excused himself to emotionally pray. It's the equivalent of saying "sorry for the interruption to our interview". He isn't asking for forgiveness for the "murders".

However, if there is a sense that this man is fraught with a guilty-conscience it is no doubt because he falsely implicated himself and his friend and --although no fault of his own, given the well-established explanations for coerced false confessions-- he must feel regret, remorse and guilt for playing such a critical role in ruining his and his friend's lives.

The bit about saying he "turned state's evidence" rather than "ratted out my friend" or whatever, is an obvious indicator that he is sensitive about the role he played in hurting his friend-- and his awareness that the "state" "turned" him. He is torn, but in truth the state is more responsible for this, whether they intentionally railroaded him or just got the confession they believed was correct.

Anonymous said...

no, i think amanda is guilty. but I guess you are prob being sarcastic.

CG said...

I agree with anon 5:43. This looks to me like two young boys railroaded.

Anonymous said...

so amanda and her boyfriend were railroaded too.

Anonymous said...

they did enough time. they were only 15 at the time. I think they did it but I think they should be free to go.

Ivanna-Anna said...

In John's Huffington Post article, there is a quote "rotting away in prison for a crime we didn't commit at the time" alibi.

If they didn't commit a crime at the time, when did they commit a crime?

Anonymous said...

The problem with Anonymous's assertion that this is a false confession is that the statement did not include a reliable denial.

Even we accept that the "confusion" could be from bewilderment at his false confession, we still must note that he never issues a reliable denial.

If he was innocent, we'd expect him to say, "I did not kill X,Y, and Z." Instead, he says things like "We never did anything."

If he doesn't come out and issue a reliable denial, we can't do it for him, no matter how common false confessions may be.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Anonymous's assertion that this is a false confession is that the statement did not include a reliable denial.

Even we accept that the "confusion" could be from bewilderment at his false confession, we still must note that he never issues a reliable denial.

If he was innocent, we'd expect him to say, "I did not kill X,Y, and Z." Instead, he says things like "We never did anything."

If he doesn't come out and issue a reliable denial, we can't do it for him, no matter how common false confessions may be.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

What I was looking for here is people to conclude that more information is certainly needed.

There are those who think DNA closes the door on everything.

The letter he wrote failed to clear him.

As to the confession, I have always been against typed up confessions by police, signed by the suspect.

I have learned through taping interviews that my notes and the audio did not always match.

"How are you?" "I am well" said my notes, where the audio said, "I am good" :)


John Mc Gowan said...


Leanne Hecht Bearden Family Offers Reward For Missing Woman.

The family of a 33-year-old woman who finished a trip around the world only to disappear while visiting relatives in Texas is offering reward money for information in the case.

Leanne Hecht Bearden's husband, Josh Bearden, told The Huffington Post that $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to his wife's exact location. An additional $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to her safe return.

"We feel that we are reliant on someone else who knows something to give us information," Bearden said. "We are hoping [the offer of] a financial reward will encourage that person or people to share that information."

His wife was last seen by family members on Jan. 17, when she left for a walk. There have been no positive sightings of the missing woman since that day.

"To the best of our knowledge, she has not contacted any of her friends or family," Bearden said. "While there are many more questions than answers, the only thing we do know is that lack of contact [with] anyone she loves is very worrisome. We strongly feel that if she could have contacted us, she would have by now."

Josh and Leanne Bearden had been staying with his parents near San Antonio, Texas, in the days leading up to her disappearance. On Jan. 17, she went out for an hour-long hike and never returned. Police, search-and-rescue crews and the Texas Rangers have all come up empty in their search for the woman.

The couple recently completed a lengthy trip around the world, which included 58 countries in 22 months. They blogged about the experience online and upon their return were making plans to move to Denver, Colo., where they met years earlier and got married.

According to Bearden, his wife took her wallet with her on her walk, but had very little cash. He estimates the amount to be $60 or less. He also said she did not have a cell phone with her at the time.

"At this time there is no evidence that points to any crime being committed, but the lack of any real credible information and lack of contact by Leanne ... has us extremely worried and we just want to know that Leanne is ok," he said.

Leanne is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 100 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has two piercings on her left ear: one on the bottom and a small loop at the top. She was last seen wearing jeans and hiking shoes.

John Mc Gowan said...

Why does Josh Bearden keep using the plurals "Us, We and our", when the expected is "I, Me and My". We only have to listen to Heather Elvis's father to notice the big difference..

Should he not be speaking for himself, that is, if he is not asked about how other family members and friends feel.

Does the passage of time make a difference, maybe, but that is not making a difference with Heathers Father.
The need to to use plurals, for me, is very concerning.

Unknown said...

Hi Hobs,

I also find it strange that the reward is split. 10k for info on Leanne's EXACT location, and an additional 10k for her safe return. What does that mean?

Why not, 20k for ANY information that leads them to Leanne. Isn't that what any family of a missing person wants, to FIND THEM whatever the outcome?!

The way the reward is split makes it sound like in the event that Leanne is not alive, they don't want to pay as much for just her body, or if alive her's only worth 10k.

That is the strangest 'reward', I have ever seen.

Unknown said...

Oops! My reply was to John.

Shelley said...

New Madeleine McCann headline... Scotland Yard is on it!!! They should be cracking this case any day...

Clearly related.. I mean the stories are practically identical! Lol

Madeleine McCann’s kidnappers may have tried to snatch another blonde British toddler weeks before she vanished.

A mum has told Scotland Yard she believes “gypsy” restaurant staff in the Algarve spiked her drink then tried to carry her year-old daughter to a getaway car waiting outside.

She says she reported the dramatic incident to the Find Madeleine campaign line in 2007, but they were then too busy pursuing other lines of inquiry.

But now police from Operation Grange are set to interview the mum for a second time in two months in the hope it will uncover new evidence in the hunt for Madeleine.

The 30-year-old, who does not want to be named, was holidaying with her mother and her daughter in Montechoro near Albufeira – 30 miles from Praia da Luz where Maddie, three, vanished six weeks later.

She says she became aware of a gang of migrants from the former Soviet Union, working on the resort’s strip, taking a sinister interest in her girl.

“It was terrifying, like something out of a film,” said the mum.. “From the first day of the holiday, a young dark-haired man kept popping up wherever we went. We would arrive at a restaurant and he’d show up minutes later as though he had been tipped off.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe DNA is the be all and end all, but I don't believe SA is either. Sorry if that hurts your feelings, Peter. I've not seen enough verifiable evidence that SA works to a degree of certainty that it would overrule DNA. I've not had time to see if I can locate police reports, etc.. and read all of the info, but carry on being overly sensitive, mate. It looks good on ya, eh?

Sarah said...

He is starting with a "clean slate." I guess it was dirty.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I wonder if you realize how important your comment really is?

Readers, I also wonder the same....


Kellie Sue said...

I recently saw a documentary called The trials of Darryl Hunt. It's about a black North Carolina man who spent 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of a young white journalist.

As I listened to him speak I kept thinking hmmmm that doesn't sound like a reliable denial. Several things he said seemed out of order. Granted I'm far from being well-versed in SA, but the little I have absorbed really had my ears perked up! I began to believe that maybe they DID have the right man after all. Anyone interested in exercising your SA muscles should have a look and see if you agree.

I think too much has been made of DNA. Valuable as it may be it's not a magic solution.

Sarah said...

If I had been released from jail after serving 22 years for something I did not do, I would not say I was given a clean slate. that's something you say when you are given a second chance.

If I was in that situation and truly innocent, I would feel upset and angry about having 22 years of my life taken from me. I wouldnt feel happy about having a second chance, although I'd be grateful to some degree for getting out at all.

This one statement stood out to me as being the most indicative of his potential guilt.

Juli Henry said...

I'm pretty sure that by "clean slate" he means that he wants his reputation back And his reputation is not necessarily what he has or has not done; it's what people think of him. After a false accusation that goes as far as court, one never truly gets one's reputation back. I watched an innocent man on trial this past summer, and while the jury found him not guilty, the people who set him up, mostly employees at his kids' former school, still continue to tell all the children that he is guilty. A targeted person never truly gets a clean slate.

@Sella, I think what he meant by "still misses them" is that the last time he saw his family members alive, he had not been accused of a crime and incarcerated. Twenty-two years of false imprisonment wnet by, and when it was finally over, he the back of his mind....hoping things would be the same as they were before the nightmare started. They weren't.

Perhaps you have to have a nightmare before you know the feeling of waking from one. Police are not always the good guys, and authority should be questioned more often.