The horrors of life inside Rikers Island are well-documented—and many of the people who are subjected to them have never been convicted of a crime. A week after the suicide of Kalief Browder, the New York Post reports on a man who has spent the last six years and eight months at Rikers awaiting trial.
Carlos Montero, 24, was arrested as a teenager in October 2008. Prosecutors allege that he was present at the scene of a Washington Heights robbery in which one of his friends fatally stabbed a man while robbing him of his jacket and another friend slashed a man who was attempting to flee. Montero maintains his innocence, and told the Post that he wasn’t even present that night.
The baffling pretrial delay apparently stems from the fact that Montero’s case is being heard together with the other men—one of whom is engaged in a lengthy battle with prosecutors over the veracity of DNA evidence. Montero’s attorney attempted to have his client’s case heard separately, the Post reports, but a judge denied the request. Civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby told the Post that Montero’s was the longest pretrial detention he’d ever heard of in New York.
Kalief Browder, who died by suicide this month after becoming a kind of public face for long pretrial detentions at Rikers, was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack as a 16-year-old in 2010 and released after charges against him were dropped in 2013.
Montero told the Post that he is “depressed” in Rikers, and that he wants to go home. When asked about Browder, he said “I don’t think about killing myself because I love myself. I still think I can get justice.”