After spending 36 years in prison, three men in Maryland were exonerated Monday from the charge of murdering a Baltimore teenager.

Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart were sentenced in 1984 for the slaying of 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett. The case was reopened earlier this year by Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, after Chestnut sent exculpatory evidence to the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral said this case is symbolic of a systemic issue in America.

"I want to make the point, on this show alone, of how many times we've talked about stories like this, and in the macro [sense] the systematic and focused destruction of black life, not just in the criminal justice system, in science, in medicine, in terms of health care, and in practically every other facet," she said. "I look at these men ... it is symptomatic of the systematic destruction of black life, which is a feature and not a glitch in this country."

Prosecutors now say police reports show multiple witnesses told police that a new suspect, who was 18 at the time of the crime, was the shooter. One student saw him flee the scene and dump a gun as police arrived at Harlem Park Junior High School, but authorities at the time focused their investigation on the trio. The new suspect was shot to death in 2002.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

Andrea Cabral is currently CEO of Ascend.