Man wrongfully arrested in Chester murder freed after 10 months
MEDIA, Pa. - March 20, 2013 (WPVI) -- A 23-year-old man jailed since last June is free tonight because authorities now say he was wrongly accused of murder.
Tahmir Craig spent 10 months behind the walls of the Delaware County Prison knowing he isn't a murderer.
"Freedom, I got my freedom back; that's what it felt like. I'm a free man," Tahmir said about his release Wednesday.
"It's been hell for me cause he's my only son and my youngest and I raised my kids to be respectful, live life, love life, not take life," Tahmir's mother Melonie Craig said.
The 23-year-old was wrongly arrested for the Memorial Day murder of Devon Williams last year at 21st and Edgemont in Chester.
Tahmir was identified as the shooter after a surveillance photo was released to the media.
But the District Attorney recently began to have doubts and brought in the FBI.
Facial recognition software could not rule out Craig, but it was determined the shooter's height was 5'11; Tahmir Craig is 5'5.
"I met with Tahmir Craig today and I met with his mother and I apologized that they had to go through the criminal justice system and I apologized for the error that occurred," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.
Whelan says several factors played a role in the wrongful arrest.
Craig looks like the shooter, he refused to speak with investigators after the murder, and his alibi witness died in a car crash shortly after the shooting.
"There was another factor where we couldn't find him and we felt that he had left the area when he knew of this warrant, that we were searching for him," Whelan said.
Craig accepts the DA's apology, but his mother is not so forgiving.
"We have to move because there is always going to be somebody to say, 'nah, he got off, he did it,' so it'll never be the same for him; he can never walk the streets by himself," Melonie Craig said.
The family plans to file a civil suit.
As for what Tamir Craig will do on his first night out of jail, he's going to go to dinner with his sisters.
pennsylvania, chester, delaware county, police, homicide, shooting, local/state, chad pradelli
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