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Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Marilyn Church. Central Park Jogger Trial Asst. D.A. Elizabeth Lederer questioning arresting police officer. . . , 1990. Colored pencil, porous point pen, graphite, and water-soluble crayon on ochre paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (063.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-31202 © Marilyn Church
Gift of the family of Marilyn Church

Teenagers Imprisoned for Crime They Did Not Commit

In 1990, teenagers Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Kharey Wise stood trial for rape and attempted murder of a female white jogger in Central Park. The defendants were already in police custody for "wilding," or extensive assault, on April 20, 1989, when Trisha Meili was found. In this Marilyn Church drawing, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer questioning the arresting officer. While no DNA evidence for any of the teenagers was found, they were sentenced for various crimes, including robbery, assault, and rape. When the actual rapist, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime in 2002, all of the teenagers had served their time in prison—between six and thirteen years: order to vacate judgement, People v. Wise, 194 Misc. 2d 481 (2002). Church later wrote, "when they were found to be innocent, I was filled with regret about the way I had drawn them." In 2014, New York City settled a 41-million-dollar lawsuit with them for unlawful imprisonment.