On January 11, 1988, shortly after 10 p.m., Fitzgerald Clarke and Steven Hewitt were fatally shot in Brooklyn, NY outside of a building where they sold drugs. Shabaka Shakur, a friend of both victims, was brought in for questioning after a witness told officers that Shakur harbored a dispute over money he owned Hewitt. Another witness told police that Shakur admitted to committing the crime before he was arrested, but this witness never testified and recanted in 2014.
In Detective Phillip Mahony’s initial interview with Shakur, he denied any involvement in the crime. But after Mahony, Shakur was interviewed by the now disgraced Detective Louis Scarcella, who claimed that Shakur confessed to shooting the victims. Detective Louis Scarcellais an infamous, retired NYPD detective who rose to prominence in the 1980s and 90s due to his unmatched ability to get suspects to confess.
As of May 2018, there have been 13 exonerations connected to him. Despite all of the exonerations and criticisms of his tactics, Scarcella maintains that he has“doneabsolutely nothing wrong.”
Shakur was convicted on two counts of second degree murder and he was sentenced to 20 years to life.
After 27 years–and in large part to his determination–Shakur was exonerated. Since his exoneration, alongside fellow exoneree and Scarcella victim Derrick Hamilton, Shakur has opened“718Live,” a restaurant and event space in Brooklyn.
Shakur is joined by his defense attorney, Ron Kuby. Kuby is the star of a new series“WrongMan” on STARZ. The series follows a team of esteemed experts as they re-investigate the cases of three inmates who have been locked up for decades and claim they're innocent. The series is available hereand through the STARZ app.