Lawrence J. Miller

16 years
In August 1981, two teenagers were assaulted behind a church in Danbury, Connecticut. The perpetrator was dressed as a policeman, and wore a bandanna over his face. During the attack, the bandanna slid down and allowed the victims to briefly see part of his face.

One of the victims identified Lawrence J. Miller as her assailant. Before the trial, on three separate occasions she failed to identify Miller. Only after viewing more than 350 photos did she identify Miller as her attacker–he was convicted based on her testimony, despite its questionable validity.

Miller maintained his innocence from the beginning, and even had an alibi for the entire weekend of the attack. His wife testified that they were on vacation in Atlantic City. There was no physical evidence linking Miller to the attack.

In 1993 Miller filed a habeas petition, which was subsequently granted. During the evidentiary hearing, Dontel Johnson testified that he actually committed the crime. This testimony, along with other physical evidence eventually proved Miller’s innocence. Charges against him were dropped in 1997, after he spent sixteen years in prison for the assault.

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© 2011 New England Innocence Project