Man Previously Exonerated in Murder Case Arrested Again For Another Crime

A 26-year-old man who was exonerated after spending eight years in prison for murder was indicted last week in connection to another fatal shooting last July.

Shamel Capers, whose 2013 conviction of murder was vacated in November 2022, was indicted last Tuesday on multiple charges including attempted murder in a July 2023 gang shootout in Queens in which 19-year-old Joshua Taylor was killed.

Two other men were also indicted in the shootout, including 25-year-old Dante Hunter who was charged with killing Taylor, and 21-year-old Damone Miller, who was charged with attempted murder.

The three men were denied bail pending their next court appearances.

Capers was previously convicted for the May 2013 murder of D’aja Robinson. The 14-year-old Robinson was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting while riding on a bus. Capers, then 15, was found guilty largely due to the testimony of another gang member who claimed that he saw Capers fire at the bus. 

Capers, who insisted that he was innocent, received a sentence of 15 years to life. The witness who claimed to have seen him shoot at the bus later recanted, and following a two-year investigation by the conviction integrity unit of the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Capers’ conviction was thrown out.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said at the time that it was “incumbent” upon prosecutors “to follow the facts wherever they lead” to maintain public faith in the criminal justice system.

Following last week’s indictments in the murder of Joshua Taylor, District Attorney Katz reiterated that the district attorney’s office’s investigation into the 2013 shooting death of D’aja Robinson was “exhaustive” and found “newly discovered evidence” concluding that Capers was wrongfully convicted.

Katz vowed that the district attorney’s office would continue “to remove illegal guns and those who use them” from the community.

Capers’ attorneys confirmed in a statement that he pleaded not guilty to the charges and intended “to vigorously defend himself in a court of law.”