Life long friends from New Haven released from long prison terms

NEW HAVEN -- Two New Haven men hugged on the front steps of New Haven Superior Court Wednesday afternoon knowing that they both are now free.

Just after 2:30 p.m., Marquis Jackson, who had served 18 years of a 45 year sentence in prison, for his alleged role in a murder and armed robbery at Dixwell Deli in 1999, was released after his sentence was vacated.

“It feels wonderful,” said Jackson. It seems unreal.”

Jackson’s lifelong friend, Vernon Horn, who was a codefendant in this case, was released last Wednesday.

“I will say that the cell phone evidence that convicted these gentleman has been called into question at best and has been deemed patently false and because of that that cell phone evidence we now know the locations of certain individuals were,” said Jackson’s attorney, Daniel Lage. “Those individuals were not Mr. Jackson nor Mr. Horn.”

“So, how does he feel about the legal system, in Connecticut, now?

“It’s very interesting because the same system that took my liberties today gave them back,” said Jackson.

Horn, said to be the trigger man, was sentenced to 70 years, but his conviction was vacated after his federal defenders and Yale Law School students uncovered 137 missing pages of phone records in the basement of a now retired New Haven detective, who helped send the men to jail.

“I hope people learn from what happened to me,” said Horn. “I hope lawyers learn. I hope prosecutors learn. I hope police departments learn.”

“I’d like to say the Negro spiritual, free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last,” said Jackson, referring to the famous Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King speech.

There is a GoFundMe page set up by the Yale Law School students assisting in Vernon Horn’s defense. They are working now to help get him back on his feet financially.