‘Letters from Sing Sing': NBC News Studios Podcast Investigates High-Profile Murder Case

The first two episodes of the series debut Feb. 20 wherever you get your podcasts.


The search for a new true crime podcast is over.

NBC News Studios is launching its first original podcast series, “Letters from Sing Sing.”

In the seven-episode series, longtime NBC News investigative producer Dan Slepian takes listeners on a personal journey exploring the case of a man imprisoned for more than two decades for a murder he says he didn’t commit. 

Slepian's investigation started in December of 2002 when Jon-Adrian “JJ” Velazquez sent him a letter from Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, asking Slepian to look into his case. Slepian’s reporting on the criminal justice system has helped exonerate several innocent people.

Velazquez was serving a. 25-years-to-life prison sentence for the 1998 murder of retired police officer Albert Ward at his illegal gambling business in Harlem during an apparent attempted robbery -- a crime Velazquez steadfastly maintains he did not commit.

Slepian was skeptical due to some incriminating details, including witness accounts.

But the case turned out to be more complicated.

Velazquez spent years fighting for justice, spending hours reading every page of his file and trying to find ways to prove he was innocent. Slepian documents Velazquez’s quest for freedom with real-time recordings and exposes systemic breakdowns in the criminal justice system along the way.

And the case is still unfolding 20 years later. In 2021, after more than 23 years behind bars, Velazquez was granted clemency by then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Slepian is also the producer of “13 Alibis,” a podcast from Dateline NBC that dives into a 1996 murder case in New York City, in which a man who claims he had 13 people that could place him 1,000 miles away from the crime scene gets convicted of murder and serves 20 years in prison.

The first two episodes of “Letters from Sing Sing” will be available wherever you get your podcasts on Feb. 20.

New episodes will drop every Monday through March 27, 2023.

Listen to the trailer here.

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