LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man who was convicted of two armed robberies in Niagara Falls and imprisoned for more than a decade was ordered to be released Wednesday after his lawyers successfully argued prosecutors failed to provide him with conflicting DNA evidence obtained after his conviction.
Judge Betty Calvo-Torres vacated the judgment against 30-year-old Michael Agee and granted his request for a new trial.
Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman did not indicate whether prosecutors would re-try Agee.
Agee was convicted of first-degree attempted robbery of a furniture store in 2010, and first- and second-degree robbery for a car theft two days later. He was sentenced on March 14, 2013, to 12 years in prison.
Court papers state prosecutors came into possession of a DNA report in October 2013 that cast doubt in Agee being involved, but they never provided the exculpatory evidence to Agee’s attorneys.
Agee did not get a copy of the report until 2021, when a team of investigators and an attorney filed a Freedom of Information law request.
Specifically, the DNA report stated that a knife recovered at the scene of one of the robberies contained DNA that matched another man, Darius Belton, and not Agee, according to court papers.
Judge Calvo-Torres wrote that the DNA evidence, combined with testimony from Belton that he, and not Agee, committed the crime, “demonstrated a reasonable probability that had the newly discovered DNA evidence been produced at trail, the verdict would have been more favorable to the defendant.”
Agee was being held at a state prison in Wyoming County. His earliest possible release date was listed as March 2027.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.