Murder charges against a Bronx man who served 20 years in prison while claiming his innocence have been dismissed, the Bronx District Attorney said Monday.
Richard Rosario, who was the subject of "Conviction," a Dateline digital series, always maintained he had no part in the 1996 murder of 17-year-old Jorge Collazo.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark had tried to dismiss the charges in June after determining that his lawyers had been ineffective and that he had not gotten a fair trial. But Rosario objected, saying that the prosecutor needed to conduct a thorough investigation and prove his innocence.
"It's clear that I'm innocent," Rosario said at the time. "I've been in prison for 20 years saying that I'm innocent. I've been transparent and forthcoming with information to prove my innocence. And it seems that the NYPD and the DA's office position is that the truth doesn't matter."
Clark said Monday that the dismissal came after a conviction review unit examined thousands of documents related to the case and interviewed alibi and eyewitnesses.
Even though Rosario was not found actually innocent — Clark said she could not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — Rosario told NBC News Monday that he considered the decision a victory.
"I just wanted the truth," he said. "I wanted the transparency of the facts of what happened in my case — who was involved in my wrongful conviction. I wanted that to come out and in the end it's still victory."
Clark said that authorities will continue to investigate Collazo's murder.