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CNN interviews NY Judge who admits convicting innocent white person of murder

This hit the news several months ago in New York City, but now surprisingly CNN has done a piece on it.

In 1999 a NYC Judge found a white man guilty of murder and sentenced him to 15 to life. The man had been attacked by a black perpetrator and was forced to defend himself with lethal force. The Judge now says he convicted an innocent man because of racial bias.


The defendant was Donald Kagan, now 39, who was charged with the murder of Wavell Wint, 23, after shooting him during a confrontation at a Brooklyn movie theater in 1998.

Kagan, who is white, testified during a two-day trial before Barbaro that during the confrontation he had been afraid of Wint, who was black.

Kagan said he came to the theater armed because the neighborhood had a reputation of being unsafe.

Wint, according to the trial record, had been confrontational with a number of people that night before the encounter with Kagan. Wint was not armed.

When their paths eventually crossed, words were exchanged and they scuffled. Wint was shot and killed, and Kagan was charged with murder. Barbaro landed the bench trial.

Barbaro said it may have been because of his reputation for fairness that Kagan chose to put his fate in the judge’s hands and not a jury’s.

In his opinion, Barbaro wrote, “The circumstantial evidence convinces the court that when [Kagan], in response to [Wint’s] verbal taunts, pulled out his gun for the second and last time, he fully intended to kill [Wint].”

He said later that he did not give much weight to the self-defense argument presented by Kagan’s attorney. He was convinced at the time that Kagan was racist and wanted to kill a black person, he said.

Barbaro found Kagan guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, where he remains today.