Paul Gaiting
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Brooklyn Man Wrongly Convicted Of Murder Is Exonerated After 52 Years

Paul Gatling, 81, is happy he can finally vote after his 1964 murder conviction was expunged by Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson. 

After years of maintaining his innocence for a murder he didn't commit, Paul Gatling was finally exonerated of a conviction that haunted him for over 50 years.

MSNBC  reports the 81-year-old retired landscaper was relinquished of the 1964 murder conviction by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson in New York on Monday (May 2). “Paul Gatling repeatedly proclaimed his innocence even as he faced the death penalty back in the 60s,” Thompson said in a statement. “He was pressured to plead guilty and, sadly, did not receive a fair trial.”

Gatling was nearly given the death penalty for the shooting of artist Lawrence Rothbort in Crown Heights. The well-known artist was shot in the chest when a gunman burst into the home he shared with his wife Marlene Rothbort. Gatling, a 29-year-old Korean War veteran at the time, was accused of the crime after a witness claimed he was in the area when the shooting happened. Despite his solid alibi from his landlord (he was paying his rent at the time of the shooting) he was arrested and forced to plead guilty in the middle of the trial.

Other factors came to light during the case to the court including how detectives coerced a pregnant Rothbort into focusing on "the tall one" during the line-up, The New York Times reports. “The cops told me they would make sure I was convicted and the lawyers said they were going to execute me,” Gatling said. “I was a young black man. With the white, pregnant wife in front of an all-white jury pointing me out, it was over.”

In 1964, a year after the murder, Gatling was given a 30-years to life sentence. It wasn't until a Legal Aid lawyer named Malvina Nathanson came across his case and believed something was wrong. After advocating for Gatling, he was released from prison in 1974 but was stigmatized for his wrongful conviction. Due to Thompson's Conviction Review Unit (CRU) plan that allows the court to look over questionable convictions, he contacted Nathanson once again for help.

Upon review, many holes were revealed in the case including Gatling's right to have a lawyer present during questioning and an affair Rothbort was having with a musician she allowed to live in their home, opening another motive for the murder.

What Gatling is the most excited about is regaining his right to vote in the upcoming election.

“That’s a big deal for me,” Gatling said. “I couldn’t vote for the first black president."

Take a look at Gatling's story below.

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Fellow former first lady, Hilary Clinton, came in at No. 8, two spaces behind activist Mala Yousafzai, and ahead of Nobel Prize winning chemist Tu Youyou, Taylor Swift, and Madonna. Current first lady Melania Trump landed near the end of the list at No. 19.

Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates was again named the world’s most admired man, a title that he has won every time that the survey has been conducted. Former President Barack Obama came in second on the men’s roster followed by Jackie Chan, Chinese president  Xi Jinping and Chinese businessman Jack Ma. The Top 10 includes footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, the Dalai Lama, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and billionaire Warren Buffet. President Donald Trump is at No. 14 on the list behind Elon Musk and just ahead of Pope Francis.

Although the women’s list changed this year, the men’s list has remained the same since last year’s survey. For the first time ever, YouGov expanded its polling to more than 42,000 people across 41 countries. Participants are asked who they truly admire where they can choose multiple options, and “who do you MOST admire” where they can only pick one person. In December, YouGov collected “opened ended nominations” with the question: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?” The nominations were used to compile a list of 20 men and women in at least four different countries.

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Listen to Minaj and DaBaby on the “Suge” remix below.

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