BUFFALO, N.Y. — Two members of what's known as the "Buffalo Five,” convicted in a 1976 murder trial, had those charges removed Wednesday.
"We did it," said Darryl Boyd, of Buffalo. "I can't explain. I don't even know what to say."
There was a wave of emotion and tears of joy Wednesday for “Buffalo Five” members John Henry Walker and Darryl Boyd, after state Supreme Court Judge Christopher Burns vacated — or dismissed — the charges under indictment number 41-413 and their prior conviction in the 1976 murder of William Crawford.
Crawford was killed in a yard on Fillmore Avenue across the street from the Golden Nugget. Walker and Boyd were just 16 at the time.
"I'm speechless,” said Boyd. “I'm literally speechless — and I like to talk. We’re here and I'm extremely excited, everyone, but we went through so much. We went through so much, and I just can't thank everybody enough.”
The two served prison time together but were released on parole in their 30s, and spent years working to maintain their innocence.
Now in their 60s, the men were overcome with excitement and thanked that family and community for its unwavering support.
"Ever since they arrested us, we've been wiggling and struggling and doing everything we could to try and get out from under this murder conviction,” said Walker. “And now that the day is here, again, I really don't know what to tell you. I'm happy. I’m looking forward to the next step.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says after 45 years, half of the witnesses in the case are dead, one will no longer cooperate and half the files cannot be located.
"Impractical for me to have a new trial,” Flynn (D) said. “It's logistically and feasibly impossible. Even if I wanted to try this case again, it's not going to happen. It can't happen.”
He also says he actually respectfully disagrees with the judge's decision, based on Flynn's opinion there was no newly discovered evidence presented to remove the guilty verdict.
"That's why I oppose the motion,” he said. “And I stand by that. I'll oppose this kind of motion every single day. I've got to oppose the motion. I oppose the motion. I lost. That's the way the system works. And the matter’s over.”
"You have no one to even partially connect,” said Walker. “No evidence. No blood. Nothing that can never connect us to this crime.”
Walker says he can now focus on spending more time with his son.
"I hear all the excitement in his voice,” said Walker. “I hear all the things he says we should do. Dad, we should do this. Go there. Do that. It's a big thing to my family.”
Flynn says he's not going to appeal the judge's decision either.
As for the other three involved in the case, Tyronne Woodruff turned out to be a key witness for the prosecution, Floyd Martin was acquitted and the third, Darren Gibson, served out his prison term and died eight months later.