When the justice system gets it wrong, Nevada can do better to make things right

At age 19, I was sentenced to two life terms in prison for a robbery and murder I did not commit.

The crime occured April 24, 1994. That evening, I went to get food at Carl’s Jr. on Fremont Street. Through the restaurant window, I saw a known gang member named Steven Jackson standing inside, so I stayed in the parking lot. Before I knew it, Jackson ran out pointing his gun and fled. Inside, Charles Burkes, the store manager, was shot to death.

Law enforcement focused on both Jackson and me as suspects, and my photo was put into a lineup. A restaurant employee wrongly identified me and I was arrested. This is just a mistake that will get cleared up, I thought.

Assemblyman William McCurdy, D-Las Vegas, is sponsoring a “factual innocence” bill that will allow the wrongfully convicted to present new, non-DNA evidence whenever it is discovered. Modeled after laws in Utah and Wyoming, it would expedite the process for the innocent to get justice and for law enforcement to identify the actual perpetrators.