Is Eric Glisson Guilty? He Worked On His Own Case While Imprisoned For Murder

The explosive and sustained popularity of Making a Murderer has sparked renewed public interest in wrongful convictions and their prevalence in the American criminal justice system. One case that received substantial attention just two years ago was that of Eric Glisson, who served over 15 years in prison on a murder charge before being cleared of the crime and released. But was Eric Glisson guilty of murder?

Nope, he wasn’t, according to the court. The backstory of Glisson’s case is a bit complicated, as it involves a total of two murders and six defendants, but here’s the long and short of it. In 1995, Glisson was convicted in the shooting death of Baithe Diop, a Bronx taxi cab driver, and sentenced to 25 years to life. There was no forensic evidence implicating Glisson, and the entire case against him rested upon the testimony of one witness who claimed to have seen Glisson shoot Diop from her bathroom window.

That witness died of a drug overdose in 2002. But in 2012, a lawyer named Peter Cross looked into the Glisson case and determined there was no way anyone could have seen or heard the murder from that bedroom window, as the witness had claimed. This was, in part, because that window was 100 yards away from the scene of the crime.

Digging into the matter further, Cross filed a Freedom of Information Act Request to obtain data from the victim’s cell phone and discovered a crucial piece of evidence. Minutes after Diop was killed, calls were made from his phone to the relatives of two known gang members. Those gang members later became cooperating federal witnesses, and incredibly, they'd actually admitted to the murder years earlier. Because Diop’s case was closed, however, their confessions were never investigated further.

Disson’s case, and the exculpatory evidence that Cross had uncovered, made its way to the desk of an investigator at the US Attorney’s office, and Disson was freed in 2013. He’s since opened up a juice shop called Fresh Take On Life.

One notable thing about the case is that Glisson worked it while he was in prison, contacting investigators directly from his cell. The fact that he was eventually successful in procuring his release could be of comfort to Steven Avery, the subject of Making a Murder who is in prison for a murder that he adamantly claims he didn’t commit — and like Glisson, he’s working on his own case from behind bars.

Image: Derek Key/Flickr