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State expected to set aside New Haven man’s murder conviction

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NEW HAVEN – A city man will taste freedom tomorrow after serving nine years of a 38 year prison sentence for murder.

Bobby Johnson, 25, was convicted of robbing and killing Herbert Fields in 2006. On Friday, Johnson will appear in New Haven Superior Court to have his murder conviction set aside.

On Wednesday, New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington filed a motion stating that new information in Johnson’s case, “has sufficiently undermined the state’s confidence in the judgement of conviction.”

The new information is the result of an investigation by Johnson’s attorney, Kenneth Rosenthal, and the Innocence Project through the Connecticut Public Defender’s office.

Rosenthal said Johnson, who was 16 at the time, was compelled by two New Haven police detectives to falsely confess to the crime without the presence of a guardian.

"[They] told Bobby that they knew that he did it. That they had evidence that he did it,” Rosenthal said, “that they had his fingerprints on the car. And, that everybody was saying he did it. None of which was true."

Rosenthal also said that police and the prosecutor had substantial evidence that pointed to a different suspect. Ballistics linked the bullet that killed Fields to a gun found on the body of another man in the neighborhood, "who fit the description of one of the perpetrators and who had a history of committing crimes including a murder that had been committed with the same gun,” Rosenthal said.

Johnson’s sister said she is excited for her best friend to return home.

"I just want to hold him and to know that I can go home with him and not leave him somewhere,” Erika Harrison said.

Johnson is expected in court at 10 am.