This interview was conducted at Brooklyn Correctional Institution located in Brooklyn, CT on February, 4 2017
1. How does it feel to see people talking about your trial and conviction again after all these years?
It’s really a humbling thing to see that after all those years that there is such a huge amount of support out there. It feels really good to know I’ve got so many people in my corner not just people I know and know of my character but people all across the globe.
Sometimes you get burnt out with the whole appeal process, keep getting shot down by the courts. But all you out there who’ve been behind me keep that spark going and help me through the fight. Thank you!!
2. The last time I was able to check, your story on comradgossip.com had been viewed 3000+ times. Did you expect so many people across America to speak out about an injustice being done to someone they don’t even know?
It still amazes me that so many people could show so much love, share my story, reach out to my family, offer assistance and support. I’m in shock! You know I’m just Ryan Thompson, a regular kis from Plainfield, CT, who never thought I could be in prison for murder. If that had not happened to me, I’d have a hard time believing all that’s happened here.
3. Which leads me to my next question: A large majority of my facebook friends are members of the Nation of Gods and Earths. A majority African American movement. I’d like to know your thoughts on their response to your story? Does that surprise you?
I am a bit surprised and so thankful that everyone believes injustice is color blind. Unlike many people caught up in the justice system. I was lucky enough to have the support of my family. Who provided me with someone I was assured was an excellent attorney. I still was convicted. My welfare all these years has been “If this can happen to me, an average teenage kid with a good foundation from a small town. What chance does someone from an urban setting with a public defender have?” If one murder every eight years happens in Plainfield, CT and I was railroaded into a 25 year sentence, wrongfully. How many have been railroaded into wrongful convictions in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, with a completely overwhelmed system? It’s a serious issue that people seem to avoid until someone spends 20 to 25 years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. And now the state has to pay them off.
4. How many guys over the years have you met with similar cases to yours?
Over my incarceration the past 19 years, I was locked up with 8 guys who were set free and so called “compensated” for their wrongful convictions. I believe I’ve come across at least double that.
5. Do you think it’s common for detectives and/or prosecutors to coerce or threaten witnesses to lie or help paint the picture they want the jury to see?
Yeah, it’s definitely common for them to do that. They’re trained to do that. One of the policy tactics they follow is the “Reid Tactic”. They threatened Brandy, the girl I was dating, with DCF taking her son away if she didn’t change her story. Thankfully she stuck to the truth and refused to make a false statement. The police also tried to bribe a cell mate of mine as well as a few previous cell mates with early parole if they testified against me. That is very common in CT and all across the US and accepted when it shouldn’t be.
6. Were you offered a plea bargain? If so why did you not take it?
When I was originally charged with murder, I had been offered a deal of 17 years and then even less before the trial started. I told my attorney that I’ll never take a plea deal, I don’t care if they offer me time served. I will never cop out to something I had nothing to do with.
7. From what I hear, you’ve maintained your innocence all these years. If you would be released today on the condition of admitting guilt, would you?
Never, I could never admit guilt to a crime I had nothing to do with. I may never get parole due to the fact I can’t accept responsibility for Rob’s death, and that is what they want to hear. I can’t lie to Rob’s family, that is not justice. They deserve justice, the truth and our system stole that from them.
8. How has your family held up through this whole ordeal?
They have been incredible and I’d be lost without them! I can’t thank them enough, and I owe them everything. They’ve kept me sane and positive through this nightmare.
9. Are you in touch with anyone from that night?
I do speak to my boy Rob and Brandy occasionally, as well as many others from the party. As far as Jared and Dave, we don’t talk anymore. I don’t hold any grudges or have any ill will towards them because I know what the cops did to them. We will never go back to how we were. I have forgiven them and moved on with my life, as they have moved on with theirs.
10. From what I can tell you maintain a pretty positive attitude. And every inmate I’ve asked about you has nothing but good things to say. How do you manage to stay so positive?
I guess I chose this path to be on because early on I felt really angry, could have easily gone the other way and became a statistic. I’ve always been a happy, positive person, take that from me. With so much love out there, it has kept me focused and positive. I have an incredible woman who came into my life and brought me more joy and happiness than I ever could have imagined! If I can be this happy incarcerated, my life will be truly incredible when I am free and cleared of all of this.
11. What do you want the viewers to know about you twewnty years into your sentence?
That these things happen, more often than people think! If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. It’s scary to think about and most people believe it happens in other states, but not here in CT. Thankfully I’ve kept fighting, stuck to the truth and stayed sane. How many people have given up? Felt that everyone and the system has let them down. Just layed it down? How many people became numb from the drugs or the med’s? Now they look like zombies in the prison system, being laughed at and forgotten. I will not let people forget. I will never forget and I’ll fight for them, to maybe give them hope again. Prison has a way of stripping hope away from you. Breaking you down, your mind, your soul, your fight! It makes people worse off, it is definitely not correctional.
12. What kind of music do you like?
Lol! I love all music man! I grew up as a drummer so I love rock and heavy metal. But, now I mostly listen to hip-hop, as you know, because you borrow my music all the time! I gotta say Pacs’ my favorite artist of all time though. His music was a big part of my life the past 19 years and helped me though this fight ya’ know. It’s hard to explain, but you feel his passion in his music, happiness, anger, forgiveness… I’ve felt every emotion. If I need to get that fire going Pac’s it man.
13. Finally, did you commit the crime you were convicted of?
No, I had nothing to do with Rob Mccafrerys’ death and the people that were with me that night had nothing to do with it either. All the forensics show that I never shot or handled a gun that night, and the car was found to have no gunshot residue. If anyone in that car had fired a gun, there would be gunshot residue all over the car. We had no involvement in Rob’s death and the police know that too. In the beginning they thought one of us was guilty, and put all their chips in on me, and it was too late to not call their hand. If they still feel that I am guilty after all of this, then they need to go back to training. CT is screwed with police like the major crimes doing the investigating!!! They are never held accountable for their actions, even when they are caught beating a “suspect”, profiling people of color, this is unacceptable and it needs to change!