A man who served nearly three decades in prison for a double-murder he claimed he did not commit was released yesterday after a state Supreme Court Justice determined that the detective who handled his case had likely fabricated his confession.

Shabaka Shakur, 50, was convicted in 1989 of killing two men in Bushwick, and sentenced to two consecutive terms of 20 years to life. Shakur's case was handled by Louis Scarcella, a now-retired detective responsible for at least 50 murder convictions currently being probed by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. Eight convictions have been overturned and a number of prisoners have been released thanks to that probe, including one man who served an 18 year prison sentence; one who served 23 years in prison; and three half brothers who were convicted of homicide charges in the 1980s.

Shakur was convicted by jury of murdering two men over a car payment dispute, and Scarcella testified that Shakur admitted to killing the men—an eyewitness corroborated that Shakur was responsible for the killings. But Shakur repeatedly claimed he had never confessed to the crime, and Scarcella was only able to provide a typewritten confession as evidence of the admission. Last Thursday, a judge ruled that there was "reasonable probability" that the confession had never been made.

After Shakur was released on Monday—a clerical error caused a delay—he called for a federal investigation into Scarcella's convictions. "How do you compensate someone for 27¹/₂ years of their life?” Shakur told reporters, noting that he'd met a number of people in prison who claim they were wrongfully convicted thanks to the detective. “What’s been taken from me is not something that can be given back.”

Though Shakur was not officially exonerated, Thompson will not retry his case. Scarcella's lawyers claim that he has never "contributed to any person’s wrongful conviction."