THE BRONX (PIX11) -- We’ve heard plenty of stories lately about wrongful convictions. But nothing like this one. Frank Dudley of the Bronx did 48 years for murder. A murder he now says he didn’t commit.
He did time in just about every prison in New York trying to fight his conviction legally. He got nowhere. Then suddenly last summer for no apparent reason he was told he was getting out on parole. No explanation, even when he inquired.
Frank: “He said it was a rush. It was a rush to get you out of prison.”
Howard: “Did you ask why it was a rush?”
Frank: He didn’t want to talk about it. (He said) Just be glad you’re out.”
That’s what Frank told me when I sat down with him last September. It’s the first time he’s told his story. It’s a quite a story and he is quite believable.
Back in 1966 he was questioned about a neighbor’s murder. … 69- year old Franny Reicher. She was white. Frank is black. She was murdered in her apartment, stabbed several times in the back. Her place was ransacked. Police considered it a robbery-murder. Frank Dudley was 22 with a couple of misdemeanors on his record. Cops brought him in along with a few others.
Frank: “So they asked me to tell what they call a little white lie.”
Howard: So they wanted you to implicate another man?”
Frank: “Yes….I told them ‘no.”
Frank says he didn’t know anything about the murder. He was home with his girlfriend (later his wife) at the time. So Frank says police turned the tables on him. They left the room and came back a few minutes later.
Frank: “They told me they was bookin’ me for murder.”
Howard: “What was your reaction to that?”
Frank:” I said murder! I didn’t kill nobody! They said well, we got somebody that’s gonna say that you did! I thought it was the police using tactics to try to break you down. But they was serious and they booked me!”
Frank says he only met his attorney when it was time for trial. He faced an all-white jury. There was no physical evidence tying him to the murder. No murder weapons. Nothing -- except the testimony of three men who Frank says the police pressured to testify against him.
Frank’s been out since July. Now he wants to clear his name and hopes he can find a lawyer to help him. One big obstacle is that in New York, he’ll need to find new evidence to reopen the case. And after 48 years, finding material new evidence won’t be easy.
We’ll stay on Frank’s story.