Shawn Yarbray, acquitted Thursday in the stabbing of City Councilman David Oh, took to the airwaves Monday morning to discuss his case, only to hear the councilman call in and say the jury got it wrong.
As Yarbray, 25, and his father, Karif Roberts, 44, were being interviewed on WURD-AM (900), Oh was listening. He called to say he still believes that Yarbray stabbed him in the ribs with a knife and slashed one of his arms in the unprovoked attack May 31, 2017.
Oh, 58, said he would not apologize to Yarbray and said he wanted to "set the record straight" that it was Yarbray who had stabbed him, not a man in police custody in Florida who Yarbray's lawyer has said may be the culprit.
It was not the first broadside by Oh since the jury's verdict.
"I really just think it's unfortunate that the young man had come to a point where he would be reckless enough to take somebody's life or hurt them," Oh said after testifying against Yarbray last week.
Attempts to reach Oh later Monday were not successful.
Oh's trial testimony, coupled with Monday's radio call, made Yarbray bristle and shake his head in disbelief in an interview later Monday with the Inquirer and Daily News.
"You were wrong, that's it," Yarbray said as if speaking to Oh hours after the radio dust-up. "You picked the wrong person, you still think that you got the right person, but you don't. The person that hurt you is still out there."
Yarbray's father, a supervisor of contract employees who work with special education students in the Philadelphia School District, echoed the sentiment.
"Even though he was found innocent, David Oh keeps trying to drag him down," Roberts said of his son. "He's still doing it to him this morning. In the court of public opinion, he's trying to find him guilty, and that's not fair."
Yarbray said he resents that Oh's picking his picture out of a stack of more than 300 photographs was enough for his picture and name to be released to the media as the armed-and-dangerous suspect. When he saw his own mug shot on a newscast three days after the attack, he recalled, he had his father take him to the police station at 55th and Pine Streets. He thought he would be questioned and given a chance to plead his innocence, "but from there, I just got locked up."
In the 10 months between his arrest and the jury's decision, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not find any more evidence against Yarbray to corroborate Oh's identification, which ultimately led the jury to find him not guilty, according to a juror interviewed by the papers and others who spoke to defense attorney Samuel C. Stretton after the trial.
There were no additional witnesses, DNA, knife, bloody clothing, video footage, or known connection between Yarbray and Oh.
Stretton told the jury that the scenario under which Oh fingered his client was the perfect storm for a faulty identification to be made. "In this case, as much as you wanted to believe Mr. Oh, it's the nature of identification," Stretton said. "It leaves a lot to be desired."
Suzanne Mannes, a Widener University associate professor of cognitive psychology, who has researched witness identification, said a 2014 study conducted by the Innocence Project found that mistaken identification was involved in 75 percent of cases in which a wrongful conviction was overturned by DNA evidence.
"One of the things we know is that witness identification is wrong a lot of the time," she said. Errors are often due to variables such as lighting conditions and a witness' stress level, distance from an event, and if the witness is of a different race from the suspect, she said. Other variables arise from how police and detectives administer suspect lineups and photo arrays, Mannes noted.
Yarbray, who has two prior arrests that did not result in convictions, said he hopes to return to the home health-care aide job he had before being arrested for the Oh attack. But he and his father want Oh to let him move on with his life.
Roberts said that during the radio appearance, "I was trying to explain to Mr. Oh that because of his status, it's kind of reckless for him to keep going around saying those things, because it's hindering Shawn from moving forward and getting a job."
"On one side, you say you trust the criminal justice system," the father said. "On the other side, you're doubling down on Shawn as a City Council member. You've got to be careful what you say."
Yarbray said he believes he never should have been arrested, and wants District Attorney Larry Krasner to know it.