Read this interview with NBC News' Luke Russert, who reports his first Dateline story 'Conviction' on Sunday, February 12th, at 7pm/6c. You can also follow Luke on Twitter: @LukeRussert
Hi, my name is: Luke Russert
I’ve been a Dateline correspondent since: November of 2008. The first time I went to Sing-Sing prison to conduct an interview for the piece.
When I first came across this story, I thought: Do I possess the ability to go to a prison, keep my composure and ask tough questions to a man convicted of murder? After that, could I produce a work that would serve the audience well? It took me a few days but I thought I could do it and I believe I have.
Something I won’t forget about Sing Sing Prison: It sits on one of the MOST beautiful areas of real estate in the entire tri-state area. The prison sits on top of a hill where one can look out and see the Hudson river stretching for miles. It almost seems like a resort should be there instead of a prison.
The most memorable words I heard: When Jon-Adrian looks out at the Hudson from his cell window, he calls it “the sweet torture.”
The most admirable person I met along the way: Captain Brereton who overseas Sing-Sing. Every inmate I encountered told me that Brereton was “tough, but fair.” Brereton, although in a position of doling out discipline, clearly had empathy for prisoners at the appropriate times. I found him to be an inspiration.
In a word, this is really a Dateline story about: Justice.
How do I Dateline?: On my iPad in-between train trips from DC to NYC to do this story!
Last but not least, in general, I wish: This story makes our viewers think and care about those who may have been wrongfully convicted.
Jon-Adrian Velazquez, convicted of murdering a retired NYPD officer in 1997, is serving 25 years to life in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. But a 10-year Dateline investigation revisits all the key players, asking the question – is Velazquez actually innocent? Luke Russert reports 'Conviction' on Sunday, February 12th, at 7pm/6c.