Transcript for 30-year-old crime still haunts New York City
Back now with the story of a brutal crime that made national headlines 30 years ago and haunts New York City to this day. A woman viciously sexually assaulted and beaten while jogging in central park and changed the lives of the victim, the teenager and turned a park that was so loved into an object of fear at the time. "20/20" has taken a new look at the story. Terry Moran has more. Good morning. Reporter: This story is such an emotional story and still has so much resonance for America today raising issues of crime and race and justice and right in the middle of this controversial story, a rising real estate developer named Donald Trump. A terror spree through central park. It was a crime that horrified the nation and tore New York City apart. East drive. Attacking joggers on the reservoir. Reporter: A woman brutally sexually assaulted and left for dead. I'm Trisha meili and I'm known as the central park jogger. It was 30 years ago I went for a run after work in central park and I was attacked. The headlines were just extraordinary. The media was all over this Reporter: The D.A. Decides to charge a group of teenagers. Reporter: Those five, Kevin rich shored, Anton Mccray, jrue Jeff, Raymond santana and Korey wise. We started hearing the term wilding where kids of color go berserk and try to harm people. Wilding. Wilding. Wilding by any name it means That fear of the sexual violation of white women at the hands of black men is a fear that goes all the way back to the days of slavery in this Reporter: Amidst those fears and racial tensions the teens went on trial with video confessions they made to police though no DNA evidence linked them to the victim. They came from strong supportive families. They were not involved in were criminal activities. There was this rising tide of these boys becoming the symbols of all that was young in new York. This is why we need to come down on these young teenagers. These thugs. And the press who rely on the police for their information about crimes or largely rely on the police felt that the case was involved. Reporter: One of the voices in the growing chorus, Donald Trump, then a swaggering torque city real estate developer. You better believe that I hate the people that took this girl and raped her brutally. In a full page ad, millionaire businessman Donald Trump calls for the reinstatement of the state's death penalty. What Donald Trump did was whip up the climate of frenzy around this case a notch higher. If they're found guilty, if the woman died which hopefully she will not be dying, if the woman died, I think they should be executed. People were in a frenzy. The people weren't all that concerned about fairness and about justice. Reporter: It was a frenzy and the twists and turns that this story has taken over the decades is just unbelievable. It is still a raw story. Tom. It really has never ended so what is the status of the case right now? Reporter: Well, those five teenagers were convicted. But when the real rapist, the man whose DNA matched what was found on the victim came forward and confessed their convictions were overturned but there was no wrongdoing ever placed on police or prosecutors because they say this case is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of new yorkers. Tom. Terry Moran for us, thank you can see that entire two-hour "20/20" documentary, incredibly compelling tonight at 9:00 eastern right here on ABC.
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