Marvin Mitchell

7 years

Exonerated on May 23, 1997


In 1988, an eleven-year-old girl in Dorchester, Massachusetts was waiting for her bus. She was then abducted and raped. The girl originally described her attacker as a slim, tall, light-skinned black man in his early twenties or late teens, with short hair, and a long and narrow, clean-shaven face. She also stated that the man had one crossed-eye and was wearing a red and white shirt with a college logo on it and pink pants. The day after she was attacked, the police drove her around the neighborhood in attempt to find her attacker.

Mitchell was identified as the girl’s attacker despite the fact that he matched did not match the victim identification. At the time, Mitchell had a mustache and a goatee. He was picked up because the victim mistakenly thought Mitchell had a crossed-eye. In court, the victim again identified Mitchell, making up a large portion of the evidence against him. One analyst stated during testimony that Mitchell could not be excluded by serological tests on semen from the crime scene. He failed to state, however, that no one could be excluded because the tests revealed blood group markers identical to the victim’s markers. Mitchell was convicted of one count of forcible sexual intercourse and one count of forcible unnatural sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Mitchell’s appeals were denied, however in 1997 additional testing showed that his DNA did not match the semen sample taken at the crime scene. The Suffolk County District Attorney did not seek a new trial and Mitchell was exonerated after spending seven years and three months in prison.