Matias Reyes: More than a decade ago, the rape of a woman jogging in Central Park shocked and outraged New Yorkers. Now DNA evidence indicates at least one of her rapists escaped capture, and questions have been raised about the guilt of the five men convicted of assaulting her. It is known as the Central Park jogger case.
The 1989 crime produced an outpouring of anger from New Yorkers supposedly numbed to the effects of violent crime. The reported gang rape also brought a new word into popular usage, "wilding."
Matias Reyes, a 31-year-old convicted murderer and rapist who was never charged in the case, has confessed to stalking and raping the woman as she ran across Central Park in 1989. The attack left the young investment banker near death.
The New York Daily News reported that lab tests have shown that genetic material in the rape matches Reyes' DNA.
In a jailhouse confession following his conversion to Christianity, Reyes claimed that he alone stalked and raped the jogger, raising questions about the guilt of five Harlem teens who were convicted of assaulting her.
To this day, the jogger has no memory of the attack on her.
Michael Warren, a lawyer for three of the teens, said he will seek to overturn his clients' guilty verdicts.
Warren said in a motion filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court last week that no physical evidence linked his clients to the crime and that confessions they made to police were obtained through "the most abhorrent form of physical duress."
Law enforcement sources quoted by the News said the teens' confessions were made in the presence of their parents, and that several children in the park had seen the woman being gang-raped.
They also said police knew at least one of her attackers had eluded capture since genetic material from the rape did not match any of the teens who were arrested.
Warren represents Kevin Richardson, Anton McCray and Raymond Santana; two other men were also convicted in the attack. All have been released from prison except Santana, who is serving a sentence for an unrelated crime.
Joni Evans, a spokeswoman for the victim, said the woman has been following media reports of the development from Connecticut, where she now lives.
"She's as anxious as anyone to know the truth here," Evans told the Daily News.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office said it was reviewing the case.
The victim, who was 28 at the time of the attacks, was found in a puddle of mud and blood and remained in a coma for 12 days.
After the attack, police rounded up several teen-agers who had gone on a rampage they called "wilding" through the park. Five were tried and convicted.
At their trials, defense lawyers argued that there was no cause to arrest some of the teenagers and charged that confessions and other statements were improperly obtained.
The News also reported Thursday that the victim, who has remained anonymous all these years, will identify herself in a memoir to be published next spring by Charles Scribner's Sons.