On or about February 6, 1994 Abraham Pollack, a father of nine was shot. He had been collecting rent for a building he owned in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the time of the incident. An anonymous caller claimed that Jabbar Collins committed the crime. Jabbar was tried and convicted. His sentence was a minimum of 34 years to life in prison.
While in jail, Jabbar Collins became a jailhouse attorney. Through his efforts, he uncovered various documents that suggested that the prosecutor on his case had withheld evidence, coerced witnesses and lied to the court and the jury.
A Habeas Corpus proceeding was brought before Federal District Court Judge Dora Irizarry. A hearing ensued. At the hearing Mr. Collins produced evidence that the prosecution heading by a Mr. Vecchione had withheld evidence, threatened witnesses and made materially false statements to the trial court.
Material Witness Incarcerated
One of the documents produced showed that a key prosecution witness had been incarcerated as a material witness to ensure that he would testify against Mr. Collins.
At the time of the trial Mr. Vecchione stated that defense counsel’s claims that the witnesses had been pressured to take the stand was untrue. Other documents produced indicated that there were plea bargain arrangements to induce individuals to testify.
One of the witnesses who testified at the original trial, Angel Santos testified at the hearing that he had been a “24/7 drug user at the time he testified against Mr. Collins.” He also indicated that he was most likely on drugs when he allegedly witnessed Mr. Collins running from the scene of the crime. These facts were not disclosed by the prosecutor at the time of the trial. Mr. Santos also stated “that Mr. Vecchione had told him he would hit me over the head with a coffee table or lock me up for couple of years for perjury” if he refused to testify.
After hearing the evidence Judge Dora Irizarry vacated Mr. Collins’s murder conviction and barred prosecutors from retrying him. Mr. Collins is now a free man!