Isaiah McCoy Becomes 157th Person Exonerated from Death Row in U.S.


(Doug Curran/News Journal)

After prosecutorial misconduct sent him to death row in 2012, Isaiah McCoy won a new trial and was acquitted on January 19. He is the first death row prisoner exonerated from Delaware’s death row, and the second since 2014 to win a new trial because of misconduct by the State.

McCoy was convicted and sentenced to death for a fatal shooting in 2010. The Delaware Supreme Court reversed his conviction and sentence and suspended Deputy Attorney General R. David Favata in 2015 because of the prosecutor’s unprofessional conduct during McCoy’s trial, which included expressing his own opinion that Mr. McCoy was guilty, repeatedly belittling Mr. McCoy, and lying to the judge.

McCoy waived his right to a jury on retrial. The trial judge acquitted him, finding that there was no physical evidence against him and the two alleged accomplices had given contradictory testimony.

In December, the Delaware Supreme Court invalidated the death sentences of everyone on the state’s death row after finding its death penalty statute is unconstitutional.

Upon his release, McCoy, 29, said, “I just want to say to all those out there going through the same thing I’m going through [to] keep faith, keep fighting. Two years ago, I was on death row. At 25, I was given a death sentence – and I am today alive and well and kicking and a free man.”

Prosecutorial misconduct tainted McCoy’s conviction and death sentence.