Rich Newberg: “In the days ahead, leading up to your new trial, how will you handle it? What will you do, and are you confident your name will be cleared?”
Lynn DeJac: “I’m 100 percent confident my name will be cleared. As far as what I do, I don’t know. I’m going to go in with the truth; that’s all I have, the truth. And hopefully this time, the truth will set me free.”
After 13 years in prison, convicted of strangling her 13-year-old daughter to death, Lynn DeJac was suddenly released, her conviction thrown into doubt by new DNA evidence. WIVB-TV of Buffalo, N.Y., was there with DeJac — in the jailhouse, in the courthouse and in her own house when she returned with her husband and 13-year-old twin sons she barely knew.
“In writing the story of this woman’s tumultuous day, the challenge was to capture the human drama as it unfolded,” news director Joe Schlaerth said. “The woman’s anguish and relief played out in the courtroom and live on camera. … Rich Newberg spent 19 1/2 straight hours covering the DeJac story, from morning live cut-ins at the Erie County Holding Center, to reports for all newscasts throughout the day and night.
“Rich Newberg is like a bulldog. When he smells a story, he snaps at it and won’t let go. Rich knew we were the only media outlet live … speaking to a woman who had been locked up and silenced for so many years.”
For Newberg, this experience has broadened his view of the criminal justice system “that miscarriages of justice may be more prevalent than first thought.”
Along with Newberg were Dave Hutchinson, News 4 photographer; Mike Mombrea, chief photographer; and Mike Micoli, ENG truck operator/technician.
Judges said: “Excellent coverage. Good use of visuals. Very effective, compelling account.”