Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Devon Ayers (cab driver murder)





25 years to life

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

New York

County or Region of Crime:


City of Crime:

New York City


Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Devon Ayers, Michael Cosme, and Carlos Perez were codefendants wrongly convicted of two separate murders that took place in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, New York three days apart in January 1995. One murder was that of 43-year-old Senegalese cab driver Baithe Diop on January 19, 1995, and the other was the murder of 39-year-old Denise Raymond, a Federal Express executive on January 17, 1995. Ayers, Cosme, Perez, and another codefendant -- Israel Vasquez -- were wrongly convicted of Raymond's murder. The four were convicted based on circumstantial evidence only, the key evidence of which was the testimony of a witness that the prosecution argued established there was a plan to kill Raymond. After their conviction by a jury on February 26, 1996, the four were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Ayers, Cosme, Perez, and two other codefendants -- Eric Glisson and Cathy Watkins -- were wrongly convicted of the murder of Diop. Vasquez was acquitted of Diop's murder, after being jointly tried with Ayers, Cosme and Perez of both murders. Glisson and Watkins were jointly tried in September 1997 for Diop's murder only. The five were convicted based on the testimony of a lone witness, and they were all sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The convictions of all were affirmed except for the conviction of Vasquez in Raymond's murder. On August 23, 2007 the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, vacated Vasquez' conviction based on the prosecution's failure to introduce sufficient evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court ruled that the case against Vasquez was flawed because it was "based on speculation unsupported by any credible evidence." In June 2012 two former gang members who had become government cooperators confessed to what turned out to be Diop's murder. Based on the new evidence the convictions of all five for Diop's murder were overturned on December 13, 2012. Glisson and Watkins -- who were not defendants in Raymond's murder -- were released on bail in October 2012. The convictions of Ayers, Cosme, and Perez for Raymond's murder had been closely tied by prosecutors during their trial to Diop's murder that was around the same time and were proximate to each other. Based on the prosecution's acknowledgement that there were serious problems with the evidence that had been relied on at trial, the convictions of Ayers, Cosme, and Perez were vacated on January 23, 2013 and five hours later they were released after almost 18 years in custody. Ayers, Cosme, Perez and the other two convicted of Diop's murder, Eric Glisson and Cathy Watkins filed federal civil rights lawsuits that named the City of New York, the NYPD, and two officers involved in the prosecutions for violating their civil rights. On April 21, 2016 the New York City Law Department notified U. S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman that it had completed settlements of $8 million each with Ayers, Cosme and Perez, and that it had agreements in principle to settle the cases of Glisson and Watkins for $8 million each. Each of the defendants also filed for compensation with the New York Court of Claims. Cosme, Perez and Ayers were awarded compensation of $3.89 million each by the Court of Claims in 2015. Vasquez was 35 and working as an iron worker when he was shot to death in Upper Manhattan in December 2012 in an unsolved homicide. In November 2014 it was announced that Vasquez' widow had agreed to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of New York for $4.9 million, and the New York State Court of Claims agreed to settle his lawsuit under the Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act for $1.8 million. The total of the two settlements was $6.7 million."

Conviction Caused By:

Innocence Proved By:

"The convictions of the five defendants convicted of the murder of cab driver Baithe Diop were vacated on December 13, 2012 after the actual killers confessed to federal investigators."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

"$11.89 mil. total, $8 mil. (City of New York, 4-21-2016) and $3.89 mil. (New York State Ct. of Claims, 2015)"

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"Convictions in ’95 Killing of Cabdriver to Be Vacated, Benjamin Weiser (staff writer), The New York Times, December 7, 2012"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Cleared of One ’95 Murder, 3 Men Have Conviction Vacated in a 2nd, By Colin Moynihan (staff writer), The New York Times, January 23, 2013"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"5 Jailed in ’95 Killing of Cabby Didn’t Do It, U.S. Inquiry Says, By Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times, August 2, 2012"

Information Location 3:


Information Source 4:

"17 Years Later, 2 Wrongfully Convicted Finally Free, By Mark Russell (Newser Staff), Newser.com, December 14, 2012"

Information Location 4:


Information Source 5:

"New York City to Settle With 5 Over Wrongful Conviction Claims, By Benjamin Weiser (Staff), The New York Times, April 21, 2016"

Information Location 5:


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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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