How Long Were the Central Park Five Incarcerated? 'When They See Us' Victims Spent a Number of Years Behind Bars

Ava DuVernay's Netflix drama When They See Us has received critical acclaim since airing on May 31. The four-part miniseries is based on the harrowing real life story of the "Central Park Five," a group of five black teenagers who were wrongly accused and convicted of the rape and assault of 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili while she was jogging in New York's Central Park in 1989.

The five youths, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, were coerced into giving false confessions by a prosecution spearheaded by Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein, before being sentenced for a crime they did not commit. Here is a breakdown of how long each person spent behind bars.

Antron McCray When They See Us
Antron McCray was just 15 years old when wrongfully convicted for the rape and assault of Trisha Meili. Getty Images/Taylor Hill

Antron McCray

Antron McCray was 15-years-old when he was arrested in connection with the rape of Trisha Meili in Central Park on April 19, 1989.

His father, Bobby McCray, instructed his son to confess in the belief that the police would then let him go. Instead, he was tried as a juvenile and convicted of rape and assault. McCray was handed a sentence of 5-10 years and would end up spending six years behind bars.

Kevin Richardson When They See Us
Kevin Richardson was 14 years old when he was wrongfully arrested for the rape and assault of Trisha Meili. Getty Images

Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson was just 14 years old when he was arrested in connection with the attack on Meili in Central Park. He was also the sole source of DNA evidence used to convict the five.

During the trial, a forensic analyst testified that a hair found on the victim was "similar" to Richard's hair "to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty." But DNA evidence years later proved this to be wrong.

Richardson was sentenced to 5-10 years in prison and would end up spending 5½ years behind bars.

Yusef Salaam When They See Us
Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when arrested in relation to the attack on Meili in Central Park. Getty Images

Yusef Salaam

15-year-old Salaam was called in for questioning by police in the aftermath of the attack on Meili. He was convicted of her rape and assault and handed a 5-10 year sentence. He would go on to spend 6 years and 8 months in jail.

Raymond Santana When They See US
Raymond Santana spent five years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Getty Images/Paras Griffin

Raymond Santana

Like Richardson, Santana was only 14 years old when he was arrested in 1989 for the attack on Trisha Meili. He was tried as a juvenile and spent five years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Korey Wise When They See US
Korey Wise was 16 years old when he was wrongly convicted of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili in 1989. NYPD/Getty Images/Roy Rochlin

Korey Wise

Wise's story is perhaps the most tragic of all. When his friend, Yusef Salaam, was called in for questioning by policy in the aftermath of the attack on Meili, Wise decided to come with him to the station for support.

The police then decided to interrogate Wise, putting him in a position where he was uniquely vulnerable. While the other four accused were all minors, Wise was 16 at the time, which meant he could be interrogated by police without a parent or guardian present.

Wise also suffered from hearing problems and learning difficulties, making it easier for him to be pressured, coerced and manipulated.

When he was convicted of the rape and assault of Meili, his age also meant that he did not go to a juvenile center but an adult prison. He ended up spending 12 years behind bars, during which time he suffered horrific violence and abuse, as well as lengthy periods in solitary confinement.

Central Park Five When They See Us
The wrongfully convicted Central Park Five, clockwise from the top - Kevin Richardson (top left), Yusef Salaam (top right), Raymond Santana (bottom right), Korey Wise (bottom center) and Antron McCray (bottom left). Getty Images

It was in 2001 at the Auburn Correctional Facility in New York that Wise met Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and murderer who admitted to attacking Meili back in 1989. This chance encounter and confession, along with DNA testing that linked Reyes to Meili, led to the five finally being exonerated in 2002.

The following year they sued New York City for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress, with the case being settled for $41 million in 2014. Now the Netflix drama When They See Us is allowing people around the world to hear about their harrowing story for the first time.

How Long Were the Central Park Five Incarcerated? 'When They See Us' Victims Spent a Number of Years Behind Bars | U.S.