Selwyn Days was accused of killing 79-year-old millionaire Archie Harris and his 35-year-old home health aide, Betty Ramcharan. Selwyn confessed to police after a seven-hour interrogation and nearly 14 hours in custody.
In 2003, Days’ first trial ended in a hung jury, but he was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder at his second trial in 2004. He was sentenced to 50 years, and his conviction was upheld by the appellate court.
Days appealed that conviction, claiming that his counsel was ineffective. Westchester County Court agreed in 2009, vacating the judgment and ordering a new trial.
The third trial again ended with a hung jury in 2011, but he was found guilty in his fourth trial.
In September 2015, the conviction was overturned based on the Westchester County Court’s decision in 2011 to bar expert testimony on the issue of false confessions.
The appellate court, noted the lack of physical evidence or eyewitness testimony linking Days to the murders, as well as the videotaped confession, in which officers “repeatedly employed suggestive and leading questions, fed the defendant specific details related to the crime scene, and used rapport-building techniques.”
The appellate court also said that “significant concerns” were raised by the fact that only the last 75 minutes, the confession, of the seven-hour interrogation were videotaped.
Days’ two experts in false confessions, Dr. Jessica Pearson and Dr. Richard A. Leo, had determined Days to be particularly vulnerable to false confessions, based in part on his low intelligence and history of mental illness, according to the ruling.
In August 2017, Selwyn was tried for a fifth time.