by on Jan.20, 2010, under Personal Messages, Updates

I have spent the past 27 years in prison for a crime I did not commit or witness.

Dear Reader:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your apparent interest in our quest for justice. As you should have by now learned, I have been incarcerated since February 19, 1991  for the senseless deaths of Carlos Ventura and Marilyn Colon, a heinous crime in which I have no involvement whatsoever. Thanks to God, my family and those who believe in my innocence, I have managed to find strength to pull through this painful ordeal determined as ever to prove my innocence.

Contrary to what Dawn Florio (the prosecuting attorney at my trial) made the jury believe and what the Bronx District Attorney’s Office wants you to believe, I am not responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. I did not set up the death of Ventura. I did not order or ask anyone to kill Ventura. I had no knowledge that Ventura and Colon would be killed and I did not witness the shooting.

After my conviction, overwhelming evidence that was withheld by Florio during my trial surfaced. This evidence pointed to Lenin Sepulveda as the only individual with a motive to want Ventura dead. It also pointed  out that Lenin Sepulveda and Ulysses Mena as the only individuals responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. The evidence includes an admission made to the police by Sepulveda that he ordered Mena to kill Ventura and an admission made by Mena that he killed Ventura and Colon.

I admitted to the police that Ventura and I had an argument and that the argument ended peacefully and we went our separate ways. However, my argument with Ventura does not make me responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. I have maintained my innocence from the moment of my arrest because I am innocent of this heinous crime.

When I was convicted to life in prison, the Ventura and Colon families and the people of the State of New York were led to believe that justice was served. However, it is evident that justice was not served then (by sending me away to prison for this crime) nor is justice being served today by my continued wrongful incarceration. All I want is a fair day in court where all the evidence in connection with the Ventura and Colon deaths, can be fairly evaluated , thus allowing the truth to surface and justice to prevail. I was convicted based on the lie of Angel Otero (the prosecutions only eyewitness) and my continued incarceration is based on that lie. Angel Otero’s lie has been proven to be a lie by overwhelming independent evidence.  This evidence includes Angel Otero’s own admission that his testimony at my trial was fabricated  with the complicity of Florio. While I am still incarcerated for the deaths of Ventura and Colon, the self admitted murderers and violent criminals ( Sepulveda and Mena) have not been held fully accountable for this heinous crime.

Please, join our efforts to bring this travesty of justice to an end and uncover the truth which will vindicate me and allow Ventura and Colon to finally rest in peace. Until the truth is uncovered, justice cannot be served nor will Ventura and Colon be able to rest in peace knowing that the individuals responsible for their deaths have not been held accountable and that an innocent man is being punished for their deaths.

While I have expressed sincere sadness to the Ventura and Colon families for their loss, I cannot say that I am sorry for a heinous crime in which I played no role whatsoever, a heinous crime that I am not responsible for. I pray that the Ventura and Colon families and anyone who believes in justice, find interest in uncovering the truth about what really happened the night Ventura and Colon were killed and demand that those responsible for this heinous crime be held accountable.

Thank you for your interest in making sure that justice prevails. May God bless you always.’


Manuel Lugo

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