Hi Reddit, my name is Colin Warner and you read that headline right. I was arrested in 1980 for the murder of a young man in New York City even though I was on the other side of town when it happened. I wasn’t exonerated until 2001. With me is Phil Desgranges, a staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union who can help answer some of the more legal-based questions you might have. I’ve also included links to a website with a timeline of events you can reference, as well as the trailer for Crown Heights, an Amazon Studios movie coming out tomorrow that’s based on my true story. AMA.

Proof: https://twitter.com/CrownHeightsMOV/status/897808822152163328 https://twitter.com/CrownHeightsMOV/status/897916854068432897

My Timeline: http://crownheightsthemovie.com/

Crown Heights Trailer: https://youtu.be/JgrFRyMsWiY

EDIT: Thank you everyone so much for your time and questions. That's all the time I have for now, but your questions have truly touched me. Hopefully some of my answers did the same for you.

Comments: 5094 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

Ferdtuff12521 karma

Did you confide in other inmates? Did they believe you were innocent?

colinwarner18375 karma

Yeah, my story didn't changed. What else I could say? I was never going to admit to the crime, and in my mind, if I was telling my story, it hopefully would reach the ear of someone who would be able to help me.

TimRigginsWife7234 karma

Who was the person that had the biggest impact on you while you were inside?

colinwarner11500 karma

That would have to be Carl King, my best friend. He was a fanatic, and that's how his family labeled him. He was always fighting for me.

Zekeroonie6496 karma

What was it like to be in prison knowing that you're innocent? What did you feel when you were trying to tell people you were innocent but they didnt believe you?

colinwarner11649 karma

Being in prison felt like hell. It felt like a strange land that I was forced to get accustomed to. What I realized early on was that I was fighting for my survival. From the day of my arrest to getting out, I was fighting for survival in prison on a daily basis and fighting for my freedom. My feelings were loneliness, frustration, a lot of anger, feeling like I was a nobody. Feeling like I had no one in the world that I could depend on. My main fear was that I would come out of prison and still be labeled a murderer.

kwakaine5594 karma

How much money did they pay for those 21 years?

colinwarner15425 karma

How much money is 21 years of your life worth?

atoomepuu4891 karma

What was your first meal when you got out?

colinwarner17215 karma

It was a vegetarian place. But I barely remember it because I was more fascinated by the fact that there was no cord on my wife's phone anymore.

Sezess4782 karma

Wow, thank you for doing this AMA. What would you say to the other people who are currently serving time for a crime they didn't commit?

colinwarner5636 karma

Try to find some type of network. You cannot do it all from prison, from behind the walls. We have to start to build, and in order to build, we have to change our thought process. A lot of prisoners know what people on the outside want and you give them that, but it's all lip service. Self-introspection is a must. If that's not taking place, you are not growing, and if you're not growing, you're more likely to make the same mistake.

colinwarner4370 karma

Also, these folks should write to us or other organizations to seek our help. No one should be spending time in prison for a crime they did not commit. - Phil (NYCLU)

Reagorn4223 karma

What's surprised you most about technology since you've been out?

colinwarner6623 karma

The cell phone is a trial in itself for me, so anything after the cell phone I leave to my wife. What is amazing to me in my mind is that I see cell phones as a weapon. There's so many people with cell phones and I believe we are so conditioned that we only see this as a toy. Very few people maximize the use of it. But I believe we can change our habits and we may see things a little different.

man_mayo3445 karma

How much time did you spend with the actor portraying you, Keith Stanfield? Are you happy with how he represents you on the big screen?

colinwarner5098 karma

I spent about a week with Lakeith. He came to my house, came to see a movie with me. I like him a lot, because he's young, and he's doing what he loves. He found it early. For my role, you can't capture everything in a movie, but there's a lot that people can identify with. I want the movie to touch as many people as possible.

IonisationEnergy2921 karma

What was the biggest change in society/people that you found once you got out?

colinwarner4976 karma

What I found out and I probably didn’t realize before I went in, was how scared people were. Scared about everything. It threw me back because I never saw it in people before. On a small matter, the use of cell phones. I don’t remember people talking like that so I was asking my wife “Who are they talking to?” Even the geography of Crown Heights where I came from, it seemed like it was sunk in, not expanding and growing. The streets looked dark and bleak to me, so it was hard to try and reorganize things in my mind.

fartass452230 karma

Do you still have faith in the justice system?

colinwarner4518 karma

My feeling on the justice system is still shaken. I don't have faith in it. But what I do know, is that nothing stays the same forever. You may take little dents and little hits, but the ultimate goal, is for people to become more aware of their choices. I believe that we have the power to get together, organize, get a program, and institute that program. It doesn't make sense to recognize the truth and be dormant. We have to move.

tst3c254 karma

To elaborate- what is your current opinion on the justice system? How it's progressed (for better or worse), any comparable cases' results you may've encountered, etc.

colinwarner651 karma

I have faith in New Yorkers and people like Colin who want to fight to improve our legal system to have more justice for everyone. Because of people like Colin and Carl who are so committed to justice, I think there is optimism for progress. We've seen progress take place over the last five years. There were counties in New York where defendants did not have an attorney and had to negotiate plea deals themselves. But because of the Hurrell-Harring lawsuit the NYCLU brought, we've been able to change that. Change is possible, but there's a lot more work to be done. - Phil (NYCLU)