Vanessa Gathers Freed after Wrongfully 10-year sentence

Meet Vanessa Gathers

Vanessa Gathers is the woman who was convicted of manslaughter almost two decades ago, she was set free after serving 10-years and now it’s been revealed she did nothing wrong and is being exonerated of all charges.

Her case is one among at least 70 other cases linked to now-retired detective, Louis Scarcella. His tactics have come under question in recent years; after a number of people who say they were wrongfully convicted decades ago have accused him of manipulating witnesses and intimidating suspects to produce false evidence.

After prosecutors reviewed her case, they concluded she made a false confession to Scarcella.

Gathers is the first woman to have her conviction disavowed as Brooklyn prosecutors revisit about 100 cases. Gathers’ case stems from a Nov. 18, 1991, robbery and assault in a Brooklyn apartment. The 71-year-old victim, Michael Shaw, died five months later of his injuries.

Vanessa Gathers, who fit a description of one of the attackers, was questioned by Scarcella soon after Shaw’s death. She denied involvement but identified a possible suspect, and she was released, prosecutors said.

Five years later in 1997, Scarcella questioned her again, ultimately getting the false confession out of her.

But this is where things get tricky. Reports say her confession, was the only evidence against her at her trial. According to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, Vanessa Gather’s confession contained apparent factual inaccuracies and lacked details.

Apparently, Vanessa Gathers was unable even to articulate her own role in the attack. She was convicted at a 1998 trial and lost appeals.


Ms. Gathers has been free since she was paroled in March 2, 2007 and completed it in 2012.

Now the 58-year-old gets to have her good name given back to  her.

The decision was to be made formally on Tuesday afternoon in State Supreme Court before Justice Matthew J. D’Emic. “I have concluded that, in the interest of justice, the manslaughter conviction obtained against Vanessa Gathers should not stand and that she should be given back her good name,” the Brooklyn district attorney, Ken Thompson said in a statement.

Accoridng to a Facebook profile, Vanessa Gathers attended Lincoln High School and is from Jersey City, New Jersey. A LinkedIn profile states she is the Director of Administration at The Five O’Clock Club.

It looks like there is a happy ending for Vanessa Gathers after all.