Taron Hill murder conviction overturned in New Jersey

TRENTON – A New Jersey man serving a 60-year sentence for a double homicide in 2004 had his conviction overturned by a state judge on Friday after the attorney general’s office uncovered evidence exonerating him, officials said on Friday. responsible.

Taron Hill, 34, was convicted in 2006 of two counts of murder and other weapons charges in the September 2004 shooting deaths of Robin Battie and Tinesha Lewis in Camden. He was sentenced to 60 years without the possibility of parole.

State Superior Court Judge Edward McBride Jr. on Friday granted a request from the attorney general’s office to overturn Hill’s conviction, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Hill’s attorney, Justin Bonus, said Hill was released from Trenton State Prison on Friday evening.

“He’s ecstatic,” Hill’s attorney, Bonus, in a telephone interview. “He is in fact innocent.”

It is not known who killed Battie and Lewis, and a new investigation is underway by the attorney general’s cold affairs unit, Grewal said.

The conviction rejection came after Hill asked a 2019 Grewal conviction review unit, claiming his innocence.

This was the first such legal action brought by the unit.

“This is an important milestone for the Conviction Review Unit that we created two years ago,” said Grewal. “We are committed to ensuring that our criminal justice system operates fairly and equitably for all. “

Hill’s attorney, Bonus, said the attorney general’s office is a “model” for similar cases across the country.

“The system, as flawed as it was by putting him in jail, worked to get him out,” he said.

A review of the case showed that a single eyewitness who saw the shooter identified Hill using a single photo. The evidence was used at trial, but is not considered best practice today, Grewal said.

There were also two prison informants, according to Grewal, who confirmed the identification of the witness, but then recanted. At the time, there were fewer safeguards governing the use of such informants, and higher statewide standards were put in place, the attorney general said.

Authorities did not recover the weapon used in the murders, and there was no forensic evidence linking it to the crime, officials said. They added that Hill and his family did not reveal what they knew about the crime until after his trial and conviction. We don’t know what information they had.

The murder weapon was not found in the case, and no forensic evidence like fingerprints or DNA has linked Hill to the homicides.

Family members of the women killed were notified ahead of the court ruling on Friday, Grewal said.

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