A 62-year-old Fairfield County man who spent 33 years in prison in New York for the murder of a teenager had his day in court and his conviction has been overturned on Long Island.
Keith Bush of Bridgeport, who has maintained his innocence for 44 years since his arrest in 1975, had his conviction overturned this week after a case review found new evidence that proved his innocence.
When he was a 17-year-old student at Bellmore High School, Bush was arrested and charged with killing 14-year-old Sheresa Watson, who was found strangled to death by someone who attempted to rape her on Jan. 11, 1975. He has maintained his innocence throughout the process, though he did confess to the crime, which he alleges was forced.
Bush was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree attempted sexual abuse in April 1976.
It was determined that prosecutors had not disclosed that there was a second suspect at the scene of the murder and a witness also recanted claims that Bush had left a party with Watson on the night of her murder. A detective who interviewed Bush at the time of his confession also admitted to using coercion. New forensic evidence also contradicts the prosecution’s case.
Bush served his time at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. He was released in 2008 on parole but forced to register as a level-three sex offender and is a lifetime parolee. As of Wednesday, May 22, Bush’s parole and sex offender status were lifted.
This is now New York’s longest period between a murder charge and it being overturned in history.
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