CRIME

Clifton Yarborough appeals for overturn in 1984 conviction

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Nearly three decades after confessing to the robbery and murder of a woman in Northeast D.C., a man is pushing for a judge to overturn his conviction because he says police beat a confession out of him.

It was in 1984 that Catherine Fuller was robbed, raped and killed in an alley near 8th and H streets NE, and at the time, Clifton Yarborough was one of seven men convicted in the crime. Now, though, he's hoping that a judge will overturn their convictions.

During testimony, Yarborough says that police pushed his head in toilet and threw him against a file cabinet among other things. He says he was so scared that he would do whatever the cops wanted him to do.

"For 25 years, this is what we've been trying to do," Ray Yarborough, Clifton's brother, says.

In the wake of the crime, Yarborough and seven others were sent to prison, most for life terms. One has served his full sentence and another died in prison, but the other six are still locked up.

Yarborough, who his lawyer says wasn't competent enough to confess to the crimes, is now represented by high-powered attorneys who work for the Innocence Project. They say other witnesses have recanted their testimony and that two other suspects exist that defense attorneys were never told about.

The U.S. Attorney said during a brief opening statement that while things could have been done differently, he stands by the work police and prosecutors did 27 years ago.

As for Fuller, her sister told ABC 7 News last year that she's sure the right men are in prison.

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