Ohio Man Exonerated After Ten Years in Prison

September 13th, 2011

David Ayers was released from prison Monday after spending over ten years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. Ayers has been in jail since 2000 for the robbery and murder of 76 year old Dorothy Brown. At the time of the murder, Ayers was a resident and security guard in Ms. Brown’s building.

Ayers’ conviction was based on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, Donald Hutchinson. Before Ayer’s trial, Hutchinson told police that Ayers had confessed to the murder when the two men shared a cell. Police urged Hutchinson to get more information out of Ayers. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that this collaboration between the police and Mr. Hutchinson was unconstitutional because it violated Ayers’ Fifth Amendment right to counsel.

Despite testing before trial, which showed that hairs left on the victim did not belong to Ayers, he was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison. The Ohio Innocence Project, which was involved in Ayers’ case, fought vigorously for DNA testing of all the biological evidence in the case, including the hairs. The DNA tests revealed that Ayers was definitively excluded as the source of all the evidence.

Although the testimony of Mr. Hutchinson has been excluded and it has been proven that none of the physical evidence in the case matches Ayers, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Kevin Filiatraut, claims that Ayers is still a suspect in the murder and his office reserves the right to bring new charges against him. This will be a difficult task with virtually no remaining evidence against Ayers.

Ayers walked out of jail and into the arms of his family in an emotional reunion that can be seen here.

Dorothy Brown’s killer is still at large.