Posted: November 21, 2012 11:45 AM
Days before “The Central Park Five,” a documentary film on the case by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, opens in select theaters, a column by Jim Dwyer in The New York Times shines a spotlight on one of the defendants, the unusually media-shy Antron McCray.
In 1989, McCray and four other teenagers—Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise—all between the ages of 14 and 16 were arrested and questioned in the brutal attack of a female jogger in Central Park. The confessions were presented as evidence though they differed in the time, location and participants of the rape. The young men were wrongfully convicted and waited more than a decade before DNA evidence exonerated them and implicated the real perpetrator—a convicted murderer and rapist.
After his exoneration, McCray stepped out of the public eye and left New York City. He was the only one of the five who declined to be interviewed on camera for the documentary. Dwyer writes about how McCray, now 39, spoke about his anonymity after a screening of the film last week.
By time the case went to trial, McCray’s father, whom he had idolized growing up, abandoned him and his mother. His parents would eventually reconcile, but McCray was not able to forgive him.
“Here’s the reason why I escaped New York: I just had to get away,” Mr. McCray said. “Start a new life.”
That logic took him to a shocking place.
“Actually, uh,” he said, “I don’t even go by Antron McCray no more.”
Offstage last week Mr. McCray said: “I wish I had forgiven him. Me being older, and me being a father.”
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