August 2003 Interview with Rubin Carter written by Ken Klonsky for the Sun Magazine.
February 2004 David McCallum reads the Carter interview while imprisoned in the Eastern Correctional Institute. David writes to Ken, asking for assistance with his case.
Spring 2004 Carter resigns from AIDWYC (Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted). He decides to start his own innocence project, Innocence International, with help from Griffiths.
Summer 2004 Carter receives an honorary LL.D. from York University in Toronto, Canada and asks for further help with Innocence International. Ken reads the transcripts from David’s trial and consults with Rubin. Although financial assistance for the project never materializes, they contact David McCallum and inform him that he is to be the first case for Innocence International.
Fall of 2004 Innocence International approaches attorney Oscar Michelen. When Oscar hears that Rubin is seeking legal assistance, he agrees to work pro bono.
November 2004 Rubin and Ken visit David McCallum at Eastern Correctional Institute in Napanoch, New York. It is the happiest day in David’s life. Rubin promises that he’s going to get him out or die trying.
November 2004 Rubin and Ken agree to write a book together, saving a chapter for David’s case.
January 2005 Ken and Rubin start looking into ways of finding new evidence to secure David’s release since he has exhausted all of his appeals.
Spring 2005 Toronto publisher, Key Porter Books, agrees to publish The Eye of the Hurricane.
January 2006 Steve Drizin, from Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, renowned expert on false confessions, joins the Innocence International team. He and his students analyze David McCallum and Willie Stuckey’s videotaped confessions and transcripts and discover a false fed fact in Willie’s confession. Since the false fed fact was technically available to the original defense lawyers at the time of the trial, it does not constitute new evidence. This discovery, however, gets Steve and his team fully behind David.
February 2006 An ex-law enforcement private investigator is hired. He begins looking for old witnesses and people connected to the case in the police reports.
June 2006 The private investigator receives police reports with a voucher for the evidence from Blenner’s car stating that cigarette butts were found in the vehicle. The team believes that testing the cigarette butts for DNA would be new, compelling evidence in the case, since DNA technology did not exist at the time of David and Willie’s conviction.
July 2006 Oscar Michelen files a motion attempting to have the evidence released for testing.
July 2006 The private investigator contacts the witness referred to in the film as ‘Chrissy.’ Chrissy was never called into trial even though she saw two men on the street around the time of Nathan Blenner’s abduction that DID NOT match McCallum or Stuckey’s description. In fact – they matched the description of two suspects who were arrested for robbery in Nathan Blenner’s neighborhood just a few days later. Chrissy tells the private investigator that after their initial neighborhood canvass, the police came back to show her mugbooks. She was asked if she could identify anyone. This visit was never documented in any police report. Chrissy tells the PI she is scared to get involved in the case and would like to be left alone.
November 2006 Steve Drizin issues his official analysis of the case.
January 2007 A four-minute piece about David’s case appears on MY9 News in New York.
February 2007 Nathan Blenner’s mother is contacted and says that no one was allowed to smoke in the car.
March 2007 Laura Cohen, a Professor of Law at Rutgers University, is contacted by Steve Drizin and agrees to get involved with the case.
April 2007 Several leads and potential witnesses materialize. For the next year, the private investigator and a team of Rutgers law students try to track down these witnesses and get statements from them, but they are ultimately unsuccessful.
Early 2008 With the DA’s office stalling on the DNA testing and no new witnesses, Oscar goes back to Chrissy to plead for her help. She refuses.
Spring 2008 Oscar visits Chrissy several more times to ask her to sign an affidavit (written statements of fact voluntarily made under oath). She refuses.
September 2008 Oscar visits Chrissy again, and, with her husband’s help, convinces her to make a statement on record about the unreported police visit.
December 2008 A 440 motion (appeal to vacate a conviction based on new evidence) is submitted to the appeal court. The team claims the unreported visit constitutes a Brady Violation (suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to a defendant therefore violating due process) by the police.
Spring 2009 The Brooklyn DA’s office still has not located the cigarette butts to test for DNA. The team continues to wait for news from the court on the 440 motion.
October 2009 The 440 motion is denied by the Brooklyn court, stating that Chrissy’s testimony could have been discovered by David and Willie’s original trial defense.
October 2009 The cigarette butts are found by the DA’s office, but they are unwilling to test them.
December 2009 The DA’s office agrees to test the cigarettes from the car, but restricts the tests to Jake, Murray, McCallum and Stuckey.
February 2010 A motion for additional DNA testing is officially denied but the DA’s office agrees to proceed and test the evidence.
May 2010 David is denied parole at his first parole hearing.
May 2010 An appeal for re-argument of the 440-motion (Brady violation) is denied in its entirety at the state level. The case remains at a standstill.
January 2011 Laura Cohen’s students at Rutgers take up the investigation of David’s case again, interviewing old witnesses.
January 2011 DNA testing on the cigarette buttes shows a match from an unknown offender. The DA’s office refuses to share his name.
February 2011 David’s case is one of 14 chosen for scrutiny by the new ‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ in the Brooklyn DA’s office. The DNA match is interviewed by the DA’s office and the team is told he denies any knowledge or association to the crime.
March 2011 David is denied parole for the second time.
May 2011 Fingerprints on a business card inside Blenner’s car match a violent offender who was killed years ago in a crash while trying to escape from police.
August 2011 The team finally learns the identity of the DNA match.
December 2011 Centurion Ministries, an Innocence Project funded for long-term investigations, agrees to come on-board with the case. The team stops investigating while Centurion reviews the case.
December 2011 Judge Firetog denies all appeals for further testing on evidence found in Nathan Blenner’s car. There was a blanket, business card, credit card receipt, cigarette butts, and more.
April 2012 David is denied parole for the third time.
August 2012 Centurion Ministries still cannot give a timeline of when they can start investigating the case. The team decides to move in a different direction.
November 2012 Private Investigator Van Padgett signs on to the case. He is from Brooklyn and does not have a law-enforcement background.
January 2013 Van visits Murray in prison. He doesn’t offer much information.
March 2013 Murray’s sister tells Van that her brother was taken in for questioning four times right after Nathan Blenner’s murder. No DD-5 (police report) exists of these contacts.
April 2013 David is denied parole for the fourth time.
May 2013 Allegations of corruption and manufactured convictions in the Brooklyn DA’s office appear in New York City newspapers. Det. Louis Scarcella is alleged by many to be a main perpetrator.
July 2013 Oscar and Van interview the individual whose DNA match was found on the cigarettes (a.k.a. “Mr. DNA”). He continues to deny any knowledge of the crime.
October 2013 Oscar and Van track down Murray. He confirms that he was taken in for questioning four times immediately after Nathan Belnner’s murder and before David and Willie were picked up. He signs an affidavit affirming this. The team believes this constitutes another Brady violation.
November 2013 District Attorney Ken Thompson defeats Charles Hynes in an election. Thompson vows to make overturning wrongful convictions a priority.
February 2014 Rubin Carter issues a deathbed plea to DA Ken Thompson for a hearing into David McCallum’s case. The letter gets international attention.
February 2014 The old ‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ is gutted and a new staff is hired under the label of the ‘Conviction Review Unit.’ The DA’s office communicates to Oscar Michelen that in lieu of the new evidence they will review David’s case.
April 2014 Oscar interviews the former Assistant DA who took McCallum’s videotaped confession. He states that David’s confession should not have been admitted into evidence and offers to help the case in any way he can.
April 20, 2014 Rubin Carter passes away.
June, 2014 Oscar Michelen is called to the CRU to present his case. The CRU states it will conduct it's own investigation.
October 2014 Oscar Michelen meets with DA Ken Thompson who states that the DA's office will move to have the convictions of David McCallum and Willie Stuckey vacated.
October 15th, 2014 David McCallum is freed, his conviction vacated.