She was behind bars and baffled.
Convicted by a Bronx jury in a brutal 2005 home-invasion shooting, Malisha Blyden sat inside a Rikers Island cell with a 40-year prison term stamped on her future.
But the inmate was innocent: Blyden never laid eyes on the man she was accused of setting up to be attacked with gunshots to his chest and stomach.
Her bad fortune was too much to process.
“It took me a while to realize they just convicted me on an attempted murder charge that I had nothing to do with,” Blyden said.
In her darkest hour, a fellow inmate provided Blyden’s first flash of hope in what became a frustrating — and finally successful — fight for freedom.
The prisoner knew Blyden was innocent because her Harlem neighbors were the ones responsible for the robbery.
The fleeing robbers, a mix of men and women, stuffed the bleeding George Peseo’s belongings into his green Ford Expedition and headed home in the stolen ride on Sept. 5, 2005.
“She was there when they came back from the robbery, in front of the building,” said Blyden, referring to the culprits’ home in the Polo Grounds Houses. “They must have been talking about it.”
The information failed to sway a judge at a 2008 hearing. But future breaks in the case produced her exoneration after nearly seven painful years behind bars.
Freed in January, her case was formally dismissed on March 11.
“I broke down, but I never lost hope,” she said.
Attorneys for Blyden are filing a notice of claim against the city on Monday, charging false arrest, wrongful conviction, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and other civil charges.
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