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NY DA denies exoneration bid backed by actor Sheen

The Associated Press, Thursday, April 4, 2013, 11:32pm (PDT)

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors have turned down an inmate's bid to be cleared in the 1998 killing of a retired New York City police officer. The exoneration effort counts actor Martin Sheen among its champions.

The Manhattan district attorney's office agreed in 2011 to review Jon-Adrian Velazquez's case. A DA's office spokeswoman said this week the investigation didn't find "evidence sufficient to demonstrate that Mr. Velazquez is innocent."

Attorneys Celia Gordon and Robert Gottlieb say they now plan to ask a court to vacate Velazquez's conviction and order a new trial.

Velazquez was convicted of shooting Albert Ward in an underground betting parlor.

Some eyewitnesses have since recanted their identifications of Velazquez. His lawyers also raised a lead about another possible suspect.

Sheen spotlighted Velazquez's case after visiting him in prison in 2011.

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