Neil Ferber

Neil Ferber was sentenced to death for the murder of a couple in a Philadelphia in 1982 and exonerated in 1986

Neil Ferber was sentenced to death for the murder of a reputed mobster and a female companion in a Philadelphia restaurant. Two witnesses — a man and his wife — said they saw the killer run out of the restaurant, remove a ski mask, and flee down the street.

The woman identified Ferber in a police photo spread, but changed her mind at the police lineup, saying she was certain he was not the man. Her husband, however, disagreed and positively identified Ferber. The prosecution also presented the testimony of a jailhouse informant who said Ferber confessed to the killings.

Later, it was discovered that the informant had failed a polygraph test, a fact that had not been made known to the defense, and the informant recanted his trial testimony. On that basis, the trial judge granted Ferber a new trial.

After evidence came to light that a detective and police sketch artist might have conspired to frame Ferber, the prosecution dropped the charges.

Ferber has since received a $1.9 million payment to settle the claim that he was framed. Ferber is Caucasian as were the victims.