Category Archives: Innocence Project

DNA Evidence Exonerates a Man of Murder After 20 Years in Prison

The headlines are disturbingly familiar: A person, usually male and often black, who has spent a substantial stretch of his life behind bars is freed after DNA evidence shows that he is innocent.
That was the case for Horace Roberts, 60, who was released from a California prison on Oct. 3 after DNA evidence exonerated him in the 1998 killing of his former girlfriend and co-worker.

After three decades in prison, man welcomed home after sentence commuted

Thirty-six years and ten days, that’s how long Rodney Lincoln was in prison before his sentence was commuted for a crime he still says he never committed.

Native American Man, Tall Bear, Exonerated By DNA Evidence After 26 Years In Prison

Johnny Edward Tall Bear, a member of the Iowa Nation tribe, has been exonerated by DNA evidence after spending 26 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit – thanks to DNA evidence and help from the Innocence Project. Tall Bear, whose tribal name Pahoo means “brave warrior”, was convicted of murder in 1992 and sentenced to a life without parole. A Court of Criminal Appeals later raised the sentence to life imprisonment.

Wisconsin’s wrongfully convicted get voices heard through state’s Innocence Project

While working on wrongful conviction cases, it’s rare to receive good news.
But when good news does come, Cristina Borde said her work — even though it might take decades — is worth it.

Oklahoma Man Imprisoned 26 Years Released Following DNA Evidence

Oklahoma City, OK – An Oklahoma City man convicted in the killing of a homeless man in 1992 was released from jail Monday after the judge dismissed the charges.
Judge Glenn M. Jones dismissed the charges based on new DNA evidence proving the innocence of Johnny Edward Tallbear.

Man Acquitted Of Rape After 25 Years In Prison To Get $10M

Anthony Wright was sentenced to life in prison in the 1991 slaying of his neighbor, Louise Talley, who was raped and repeatedly stabbed. The conviction was reversed in 2014 after DNA evidence pointed to a former crack addict who died in a South Carolina prison.

Coley awarded $2M

Seven months after being exonerated for a double murder that he was convicted of but did not commit, Craig Coley has received a payout from the state of California for nearly $2 million.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 941 on May 17 authorizing the release of $140 for each of the 13,991 days that Coley, 70, spent behind bars. SB 941 was introduced to the Legislature Jan. 29 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).
The $1.95-million payment, which is exempt from state and federal taxes, marks the largest sum issued by the state for a wrongful conviction.

26 Years Later, Justice for Men Imprisoned for a Bogus Rape

The woman, dirty, disheveled and in tears, ran over to a patrol car parked along a Harlem street in the early morning of Jan. 18, 1991. She told police officers she had been kidnapped at knifepoint near her home in Queens and raped by three black men, whom she identified.
Before the end of the month, the police arrested two of the men she had named — Gregory Counts, then 19, and VanDyke Perry, then 21. They were charged with four counts of first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree sodomy, kidnapping and criminal possession of a weapon, according to court records. The third man was never caught.

Kirk Bloodsworth’s new passion: Championship rings for those who won freedom

The idea came to him some 30 years ago, while he was asleep on Maryland’s Death Row for a horrible crime he knew he did not commit: The murder of a little girl on a summer day in 1984 in Baltimore County. Kirk Bloodsworth dreamed that the commissioner of the National Football League — at the time, Pete Rozelle — gave him a Super Bowl ring.
With plenty of time to ponder the dream, Bloodsworth took something positive from it because, when you are facing death for a crime you know you did not commit, you cling to every trinket of hope. Some day, Bloodsworth thought, he’d win a Super Bowl championship, and for an innocent man in prison that would mean exoneration and freedom.

The Midwest Innocence Project looks to the next generation

The statistics are staggering: between two and seven percent of all prisoners in the U.S. are innocent. That means at least 40,000 people — and as many as 155,000 people — are rotting behind bars for no reason. Ryan Ferguson (pictured above) was once among these ranks. He spent nearly ten years in prison for a murder committed in Columbia, Missouri, in 2001. He was 17 at the time.

Two men exonerated by DNA evidence in gang rape sue Hammond, Indiana State Police

The day police arrested Roosevelt Glenn in 1990, he thought the meeting called at the Luria Brothers sheet steel plant was about the man he’d pulled from a conveyer earlier that day.
When men in suits walked in the room, he said Wednesday, Glenn figured they must have been company representatives. He wondered if the man was OK, or if he was going to get a safety award for his actions. Instead, they were Hammond police officers arresting him for allegedly participating in a gang rape.
“Then they began to name names and they called my name, ‘Glenn,’” he said. “I was so excited that I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me, I’m Glenn.’ They said, ‘Get on the ground.’ That’s like a nightmare to me. I still see that.”

MT Innocence Project reacts to decision in 1994 murder convictions

MISSOULA – It took seven years from the time the Montana Innocence Project first took a look at the case of Paul Jenkins and Freddie Lawrence, who were convicted of the 1994 murder of Donna Meagher and the robbery of the Jackson Creek Saloon.
Lewis and Clark Co. District Judge Kathy Seeley ordered the convictions in a decades-old murder case vacated Friday and ordered a new trial. It was an exciting day for the lawyers who didn’t give up.

Judge overturns convictions of two men sentenced for 1994 Jefferson County murder

Freddie Joe Lawrence and Paul Kenneth Jenkins, two men serving life sentences for the killing of a Jefferson County woman in 1994, had those convictions overturned Friday morning following five years of work by the Montana Innocence Project.
Donna Meagher was working at the Jackson Creek Saloon near Montana City on Jan. 11, 1994, when she disappeared after working a night shift. More than $2,000 had been stolen from the casino and Meagher’s pickup was missing. Her body was found the next day off of Colorado Gulch Road west of Helena.

Illinois Innocence Project Claims Many Imprisoned Because of Flawed Forensics

TV detectives might be solving crimes easily with the help of advanced forensic testing, but two legal experts with the Illinois Innocence Project say their caseload is mounting because of flawed forensics.

He pleaded guilty to rape 40 years ago. Now he says he is innocent

Roy Watford was 18 and borderline intellectually disabled, when a Virginia judge asked him to make a decision that would go a long way to determine his future: How would he plead to the charge of raping a 12-year-old girl?
Watford contended he was innocent, but his grandfather urged him not to take the risk of going to trial. He was looking at the possibility of life in prison if convicted by a jury, while a prosecutor was offering a deal that would allow him to walk out of the courthouse without serving a day.