Miguel Roman

20 years

In 1988, Carmen Lopez was found dead in her apartment in Connecticut. The 17 year old was six months pregnant at the time of her death. Her ex-boyfriend, Miguel Roman was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the crime. Neighbors of Lopez claimed to have seen a car that resembled Roman’s at the apartment the night of the crime and Roman was arrested due to his past relationship with the victim.

During the investigation, Roman was read his Miranda Rights in Spanish. However, the majority of his interrogation was in English; despite him not being fluent. This led to Roman allegedly giving conflicting information about the last time he had seen Lopez. A friend of Roman’s also stated that Roman requested that she lie about his whereabouts the night of the crime. Through DNA testing, it was discovered that Roman was not the father of Lopez’s unborn child but the prosecution pressed that the crime was due to him pressing Lopez to get an abortion. Semen tested from the scene excluded Roman as a contributor, but the prosecution stated that Lopez having sex with someone else did not rule him out as the killer. Roman was convicted based on the prosecution’s presented motive and previous statements.

In 2008, after several lost appeals, access to DNA testing was granted. The testing of the rape kit, a cloth used to gag the victim and an electrical cord proved Roman’s innocence, and implicated the real perpetrator, who was a habitual sex offender. Roman was eventually exonerated after nearly 20 years in prison.