Three South Florida men are speaking out after being acquitted of attempted murder.
The three men were detained, questioned and arrested. That's how their night out at the park, listening to music, ended one evening last year for Ervens Thevenin and his two friends.
"Just our whole world got flipped upside down," Marlon Fabius said.
The crime happened last May at a home in West Park. The victims said they were just standing in the driveway when two men with a gun came up to them and pointed it at their heads, demanding everything they had.
The three men accused of the crime: Kevin Emile, Marlin Fabius, the accused gunmen, and Thevenin, the alleged getaway driver.
"We end up finding out, we're in here for attempted murder and armed robbery," Fabius explained.
Their attorneys said for eight months, the three men sat in jail.
"What I was waiting on was, when are they going to find out that they got the wrong people? Well, they still ain't figured that out," Thevenin said.
"The obvious problem was the prosecutor, because he was given DNA evidence showing all our clients' DNA did not come back to one item found," said Attorney Andrew Rier.
A jury heard the case and found all three not guilty on eight counts of attempted murdered and armed robbery.
"Broward Sheriff's Office dropped the ball big time," said Attorney Larry Handfield.
"The insult to this case is that the assistant state attorney from Broward, Scott Strauss, prosecuted innocent people despite the evidence they had," said Attorney Zejka Bozanic.
"We probably would have been on our way to prison. But you just got to thank them. God blessed us with best attorneys possible," Fabius said.
NBC 6 reached out to BSO about the case and they deferred us to the state attorney's office.
On Friday, Ron Ishoy, the Communications Manager for the Broward State Attorney's Office provided the following statement:
"We had extraordinarily good reasons to believe the testimony of both victims and the police officer who gave chase after this robbery, and we continue to believe that the defendants in this case were appropriately charged with this offense.
If you’re aware of the facts of this case, both victims had an opportunity to observe the defendants and one actually pursued them after the robbery. Police joined in the pursuit and an officer witnessed three people bail out of the car. The officer pursued the defendants around the house where he only lost sight of them briefly. The defendants, the only people seen in the area, then got into another car. The vehicle was stopped by police and the defendants were detained. The victims were brought over to the defendants (it's called a show-up rather than a step-up). One of the victims positively identified one defendant. The other victim, separate and apart from the first victim, identified two of the three defendants. That’s significant because they only identified, with emphatic certainty, whom they actually saw involved in this robbery.
The supposed DNA evidence was found in the first car. As to DNA of other people, evidence showed that the car had been stolen a month before and had been used for drug deals and therefore it could have had any number of people in and out of it during that period. Others whose DNA was found in the car were questioned. As to the DNA of the suspects, DNA testing did not exclude the suspects, it was inconclusive.
When we learned of the possible exculpatory DNA evidence, we immediately took the extraordinary step of offering all three defendants polygraph exams. We even agreed that the test results did not have to be admissible in court; we just wanted to make sure we had the right people. All three defendants failed the polygraph tests.
In our minds, this confirmed the reliability of the testimony of the police officer and the victims. A polygraph exam is a time-honored tool used by law enforcement to verify criminal activity. As the tests were not admissible into evidence, the jury couldn't hear about the results.
We remain confident that the defendants in this case were appropriately charged with this offense."