A Pennsylvania security guard spent a month in jail for a crime he didn’t commit after local police ignored evidence proving he was innocent.
The charges have now been dropped, but only after the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case. DeAndre Brown, 26, was arrested for allegedly robbing a local bakery while armed, and faced between five to 10 years in prison.
However, Brown, a security guard at the Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library, told police at the time of his arrest that he couldn’t have possibly committed the crime. He said he was attending a training session in Oakland, PA when the robbery occurred.
In addition to simply claiming he had an alibi, Brown also said he could provide security video footage of him arriving and leaving the training session, a sign-in sheet with his name on it, and a witness to verify his claim.
When Brown’s attorney, Patrick Nightingale, tried to submit this evidence to the case’s investigating officer at a preliminary hearing, the officer refused to listen. He would not take the witness’ name or phone number, either.
"I'm extremely disappointed the police officer investigating this matter completely ignored the alibi witness," Nightingale said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
According to Nightingale, the only evidence connecting Brown to the crime was incorrect eyewitness identification by the bakery’s clerk. The clerk, however, told local WXPI Channel 11 News that he said Brown “might or might not be the one.”
Brown was jailed on September 16 and released to electronic monitoring on October 17. As Nightingale sees the situation, police only wasted time that could’ve been used to track down the real criminal.
"So now we know today the person who committed this armed robbery is still out there running around, and the city police blew six weeks on this," Mr. Nightingale said. "It's unfortunate my client had to sit in jail for weeks knowing he is an innocent man, but today justice has prevailed."
As for Brown, his mother Yvonne thinks the most important thing is that he could finally go home.
“I'm just glad this thing is over,” she said.