Marlon Passley

4 years

Marlon Passley was convicted of a 1995 shooting that occurred in Boston. Five boys were standing outside a friend’s house when two people approached them on a motorcycle. The passenger on the motorcycle, who was wearing a helmet, pulled a gun and shot the boys, killing one. A sixth boy, who was nearby, identified the shooter as “Kevin,” a man from Cambridge.

Three of the survivors also identified the shooter as “Kevin” and all four picked out Passley in a photo array and at trial. Passley admitted to being known as “Kevin” and to living in Cambridge, but said that he was at a family graduation at the time of the shooting, which was supported by several people. However, when the police searched his home they found a green mesh shirt that fit the description of the shooter.

On February 9, 1999, Passley’s sentence was confirmed. However, in light of new evidence suggesting John Tibbs was the real shooter, the district attorney’s office reopened Passley’s case, and reexamined the testimony against him. Tibbs confessed to the murder and Passley was released from prison in 1999, and formally exonerated in 2000.

Guy Randolph

10 years

In 1990, a six-year-old girl told the police that she was molested while she played near a snow bank in Roslindale, MA. The girl stated that a man on a bicycle pressed a knife against her cheek and assaulted her behind a dumpster. Later that day, while walking near the scene of the crime, Guy Randolph was arrested for the crime. Randolph was a diagnosed schizophrenic and had a record that included shoplifting and burglary.
The victim did not identify Randolph at first, but after speaking with her Aunt changed her story. The victim also described her attacker’s appearance, clothing, and build. These descriptions did not match Rudolph. Despite this, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years.

After his release, Randolph had to register as a Level 3 Sex Offender, which brings with it a myriad of problems. It wasn’t until 2005 that Sejal Patel, of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, fought for his exoneration. She finally cleared his name in 2007, nearly seventeen years after his conviction.

Ricky Hammond

2 years

In 1990, Ricky Hammond was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault in Hartford, Connecticut.

DNA analysis of the blood at the scene of the crime excluded Hammond. However, the prosecution built their case around the victim’s identification of Hammond. Hammond’s attorney contested the identification, claiming it was misleading. Unfortunately, the argument failed. Hammond was the only individual that was present in all three of the lineup pictures that were shown to the woman. Also, a hair found in the victim’s car was “consistent” with Hammond. Though the hair sample did not match Hammond, the prosecution pushed forward with the evidence.

In 1992, the Connecticut Supreme Court granted Hammond’s motion for additional DNA testing. The DNA profile of the semen excluded Hammond. He was released in 1992 when the District Attorney’s Office declined to re-try his case.

Kenneth Ireland

20 years

In 1986, 30-year old Barbara Pelkey was killed in the factory where she worked. Nearly three years later, Kenneth Ireland was charged with the crime. Two informants told police that Ireland and two other men confessed to them. Over a year later, another witness came forward saying Ireland confessed to her. She also said that she was drunk at the time, and may have imagined the statements. Based on these witnesses, Ireland was tried and convicted of the rape and murder.

The hair and the fingerprints at the crime scene did not match Ireland. The semen was determined to have come from a “non-secretor,” meaning the individual does not exhibit their blood type in their bodily fluids. About 20% of all males fit this description, including Ireland. Based on this evidence Ireland was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Ireland lost his first appeal in 1991. In 2007, the Connecticut Innocence Project helped him get additional DNA testing. This testing excluded Ireland as the culprit. In 2009 all charges were dropped. Ireland spent over 19 years in prison for a crime he did not commit plus an additional two years in jail awaiting trial.

The same DNA results used to exonerate Ireland also led police to Barbara Pelkey’s real killer. On January 18, 2012 Kevin Benefield was found guilty of the murder of Barbara Pelkey. Benefield, who was living in the Bronx when he was arrested, worked in the same building complex as Pelkey at the time of her murder.

Lawrence J. Miller

16 years

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

During the attack, the perpetrator had used a set of handcuffs on William that were the same brand used by federal correction agencies. It was concluded that due to this piece of evidence the perpetrator had to have access to these institutions. Miller worked at a federal correction facility at the time and was put into the suspect pool.

After failing to identify her attacker from photo sets that included Miller on three separate occasions, Elizabeth identified Miller as her assailant in April 1982 after being shown a new photo of him. Miller was convicted based on her testimony, despite its questionable validity.

Prior to Miller’s trial, a man named Daniel Johnston approached Miller and his wife and told them he knew Miller was innocent. This was reported to the police who then interviewed Johnston. He gave them a false alibi and told them that he would not deny committing the crime. Elizabeth had also never been shown a photo of Johnston, and may have been able to identify him. This crucial information was not disclosed to Miller’s defense lawyers prior to trial.

Miller maintained his innocence from the beginning, and even had an airtight alibi. He testified that he was at his sister’s home, a statement supported by his wife, sister, sister’s friend and mother. There was no physical evidence linking Miller to the attack. Miller was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison.

In 1986, Johnston was convicted of murdering a New York woman and dumping her body about a mile from Clapboard Ridge Road, where Elizabeth and William were attacked. In 1995, Johnston finally confessed to Emanuel that he, not Miller, was the attacker.

In 1993 Miller filed a habeas petition, which was subsequently granted. Johnston’s 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. In 2015, the state of Connecticut was ordered to pay $4,050,000 in compensation to Miller.

Lawyer Johnson

10 years

In December, 1971, a man was shot and killed in Roxbury. A known addict, Kenny Myers, was found at the scene. Shown a photo array, he initially identified a man as the shooter who turned out to be in jail. He then told police that it was Lawyer Johnson, accompanied by another unnamed man. In a probable cause hearing, he stated that he had named Johnson because he thought the police were going to blame him, (Myers). After the shooting, Myers had picked up the gun and hidden it, later revealing its location to the police. Despite the clear possibility of his involvement in the crime, he became the sole prosecution eyewitness rather than a suspect. Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death.

Johnson’s conviction was appealed because the judge had improperly restricted his right to cross-examine Myers. However, during retrial in 1974, new witness Alvin Franklin testified that Johnson had confessed the crime to him when they shared a cell before the first trial. Also at this trial, eyewitness Gary Pritchett testified that he was at the scene and had seen Myers and two other men running away. Neither of the two other men was Johnson. Pritchett testified that he had volunteered this information to a police officer at the scene, who took notes, and his claim was corroborated by Myers’ testimony. However, the police officer had no record or recollection of this event. Despite Pritchett’s testimony, Johnson was again convicted, this time for second-degree murder with a life sentence. His conviction was based completely on the testimony of two highly unreliable witnesses, one a suspect in the case and the other a jailhouse snitch.

However, at a later hearing on a new trial motion, a new witness, Dawnielle Montiero, testified. Ten years old at the time she witnessed the murder, she stated that it was Myers alone who had done the shooting. She had called the police at the time, but had been told she couldn’t help them because of her age. In July 1981, the court granted Johnson a second new trial. The prosecution decided not to retry him, but Johnson was not freed until October 1982. Lawyer Johnson had spent ten years in prison, two of them on death row. No one else was prosecuted for the murder. In 1983, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature voted $75,000 compensation for Johnson but neither that bill, nor one filed on Johnson’s behalf in 1999, was finally approved. Finally in 2007 Johnson received $500,000 under Massachusetts’ wrongful conviction statute.

While in prison, Lawyer Johnson learned to paint. In August 2011, he sat down with NEIP staff and explained the meaning behind some of his works.

“If there’s no beauty, I have the ability to create beauty. Walpole prison is designed to be physically abusive. There’s no sun; it’s all concrete and steel. There is no kind of creative outlet in terms of environmental stimuli. It is designed to feed us with negative thoughts and negative forces; it creates oppression. We became a product of them saying we were animals. We became animals. Most of my paintings derived from my need to create beauty. This is what I did when I was in prison.

When I got out of prison I was like a lost atom. Wherever the wind went, I went. I had no support, no direction, no help. Before going to prison I was unified with other atoms. I was the one that got lost and was picked out.
— Lawyer Johnson, August 2011

George Reissfelder

15 years

In 1966, William Sullivan and another man robbed a Railway Express payroll office in Boston. Sullivan fatally shot a guard and was arrested immediately and the other man escaped. Three other employees later identified George Reissfelder as the shooter’s accomplice. When arrested, he was carrying a revolver like the gun carried by the second robber.

In 1967, both Sullivan and Reissfelder were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1972, Sullivan died in prison, and it was not until 1982 that Reissfelder was appointed an attorney to help him prove his innocence and win release. The lawyer who had represented Sullivan came to Reissfelder’s attorney saying, “As God is my witness, the cops knew it, the prosecutor knew it, the judge knew it – this guy Reissfelder was not guilty.”

Finally, Reissfelder’s attorney discovered that Sullivan had made a confession of Reissfelder’s innocence to his attorney, who felt duty-bound to keep silent. It took a waiver from Sullivan’s family to obtain the attorney’s testimony and finally secure Reissfelder’s release. Following Reissfelder’s release in 1982, the legislature twice failed to award him compensation. Reissfelder passed away in 1991.

Christopher Harding

7 years

In August, 1989, two men shot and wounded Deron Jones in the Mission Hill housing project in Boston, and then fired on pursuing police officers. One shooter, Dwayne Owens, surrendered at the scene, while the second man ran into a nearby building. Police Officer Terence O’Neil entered the building and found Christopher Harding sitting on the stairs – a spot he frequently occupied when too drunk to go home. Officers O’Neil and Stratton identified Harding as the second shooter, as did Glenn Hill, who was with the victim Deron Jones and was shown Harding in the back seat of a police cruiser.

Harding was convicted of two counts of assault with intent to murder and other offenses and sentenced to 10-12 years, despite the testimony of a witness who testified that she had seen Owens with a different man shortly before the crime. There was no physical evidence or motive and the conviction rested on the testimony of the two police officers and Glenn Hill.

In 1995, Harding was released following a grand jury investigation of gang activities of Dwayne Owens, during which Hill recanted his identification of Harding in the Jones case. Members of Owens’ gang identified the second shooter as his cousin, Robert Owens. Harding filed a motion for a new trial, which was granted without hearing witnesses, based on “serious questions about the veracity” of police testimony at the first trial. Against court orders, O’Neil had spoken to a police witness at the trial who then changed his testimony. Police had obstructed defense efforts to subpoena O’Neil’s partner on the night of the incident, whose report differed from those of O’Neil and Stratton. And, the police had “lost” the jacket and hat worn by Harding on the night of the crime, which the defense claimed were different from those worn by the perpetrator.

In January 1998, prosecutors decided not to retry Harding, and he was eventually awarded $480,000 from the City of Boston in settlement of a suit for wrongful conviction by perjured testimony. Officer O’Neil was fired for “lying under oath and other breaches of department rules during the (Harding) case.” However, Harding was never officially exonerated.

Peter Vaughn

3.5 years

Peter Vaughn was convicted in 1983 for serving as a lookout in an armed robbery at a Star Market in the Fenway area. During his trial he was clearly agitated, a factor which may have convinced the jury of his guilt. Two months after the initial armed robbery, the same grocery store was robbed again, and this time a security camera caught a picture of the lookout, who matched Vaughn’s description. During the second robbery, however, Vaughn was in the Charles Street Jail on an unrelated charge. Despite this inconsistency, he was convicted based mainly on eyewitness identification.

On appeal in 1986 the court decided that “the documentary evidence…was so compelling that reasonable jurors could not have been satisfied of [Vaughn’s] guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” He was subsequently released. Upon his release, Vaughn had a very limited support system and struggled with drugs, mental issues, homelesseness, and a troubled family life. In the early 2000s he reached a turning point. He took his medications more regularly, saw a counselor and attended Alcoholics Anonymous. By 2005 he had found an apartment, was holding down a part-time job, and gave motivational speeches to teenagers, seeing his own background mirrored in their struggles. After years of challenges, Vaughn finally got his life back on track.

Angel Toro

21 years

Angel Toro was convicted in 1982 of murdering a Howard Johnson Motel clerk during an armed robbery in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Toro, a guest at the motel, was identified by the bartender who was working at the time of the robbery. Two other witnesses identified him when he entered the establishment days after the robbery. During the trial, the prosecution highlighted that Toro had many guns in his room. However, it was never seen that any of these weapons were connected with the crime. A friend of Toro’s claimed that he would not have needed to steal the $385 that was taken that night due to his involvement with selling cocaine.

Toro was convicted largely on eyewitness testimony. The bartender from the motel identified Toro in both a police lineup and in court. However, the other two witnesses eventually admitted to Toro’s wife that they had lied about how Toro had looked when they originally identified. The witnesses told police that Toro was clean-shaven, when he actually had a beard. This was a key fact because another witness testified that the shooter had no beard. The witnesses claimed that they had done so due to threats from the police.

In 2004, Toro’s appellate attorney, Stephen Hrones, won a new trial motion based on the fact that Boston police failed to turn over a report to the defense that listed another possible suspect who was wanted for a similar crime. The district attorney decided not to retry Toro.

Mark Reid

6 years

Mark Reid was arrested in 1996 for allegedly raping and threatening to kill a woman in East Hartford, Connecticut. The victim told police that she was taken by a man down an alley and forced to preform oral sex before being raped. She described the man as a light skinned black man with freckles who was of average height. She later identified Reid, who had no freckles was was over six feet tall. A police officer targeted him as a suspect when he thought the victim’s description resembled Reid.

Reid’s conviction was based largely on analysis of pubic hairs found on the victim’s jacket. While the technician, Kiti Settachatgul, testified that while she could not say the hairs found on the victim were identical to Reid’s, they shared characteristics. Semen could not be tested in this case due to the victim claiming that her attacker wore a condom.

In 2003, Connecticut Supreme Court issued Reid a new trial based on a retesting of the hair samples. The further DNA testing excluded Reid. All charges were then dismissed when the victim declined to participate in second trial. He served nearly six years in prison.

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.

Laurence Adams

30 years

In March 1974, Laurence Adams was convicted and sentenced to death as one of allegedly three men who had beaten, robbed, and killed a subway porter in Boston in 1972. In March 1973, Harry Ambers confessed to the crime and implicated Adams along with his own brother, Warren Ambers as his accomplices. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts eliminated the death penalty one year after Adams’ conviction and his sentence was changed to life imprisonment.

Adams was further implicated in the murder by the testimony of Prosecution witnesses, Wyatt Moore and his sister Lynne “Suzie” Moore, who testified that Adams had admitted to committing the crime with the Ambers brothers. Exculpatory evidence in the files of the Boston Police Department was not revealed until decades later. This included the fact that Suzie recanted her trial testimony, admitting that she had testified to help get her brother out of jail. Wyatt was being held on serious felony charges and was released the day after Adams’ trial. In fact, Wyatt Moore was in prison on the same date Adams allegedly confessed his participation in the crime to the Moores. Police further withheld a sworn statement from a witness who said that Harry Ambers had confessed that he and his brother Warren alone had committed the murder.

In May, 2004, the Superior Court Justice allowed a Motion for Postconviction Relief and ordered a new trial because records, witness statements, and police reports that had not been disclosed were considered newly discovered evidence. Adams was released after 30 years of incarceration. Adams earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology while incarcerated.

Ella Mae Ellison

4 years

Exonerated on July 18, 1978

 

In 1974, Ella Mae Ellison was convicted of one count of first-degree murder and four counts of armed robbery for driving the getaway car after a pawnshop robbery in Roxbury, Massachusetts. As the robbery was taking place, a police officer was shot and killed. Ellison received concurrent life sentences. No physical evidence linked Ellison to the crime, however, two confessed perpetrators testified that she was their driver as part of a plea bargain.

Though Ellison knew the perpetrators, she did not match the description given by them to the police upon their arrest. The driver was described as a “light skinned 18-year old”, which did not match Ellison, who had darker skin and was 27 at the time of the crime. The statements given by the two perpetrators were the major contributor to Ellison’s conviction.

At trial, the prosecution repeatedly denied Ellison’s attorney access to several early statements made by the two perpetrators that supported the claim that Ellison was not involved in the crime. Therefore, this exculpatory evidence was not presented to the jury. In May 1976, the two perpetrators recanted their testimony in full, thereby undermining the only testimony implicating her at trial. Finding the recantations incredible, the trial judge denied Ellison’s motion for a new trial. However, in 1978, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated her conviction, holding “[t]he prosecutor’s late, piecemeal, and incomplete disclosures” unconstitutional. Exculpatory statements by the perpetrators, whose several conflicting versions of the crime made them “emerge as very willing to lie under oath”. The Court speculated that their motives for implicating Ellison may have been to obtain the benefits of a plea bargain, or to hide the identity of the real driver. The Court “concluded that these two related weaknesses put the convictions so far in question that we are obliged to set aside the verdicts with leave to the Commonwealth to retry the case.” (Commonwealth v. Ellison, 376 Mass. 1, 3 (1978). Subsequently, the Commonwealth dropped the charges against Ellison. She had spent four years in prison.

Frank Grace

11 years

Exonerated in January, 1985

 

In 1972, Marvin Morgan was shot to death outside a club in Boston in front of two friends, Jasper Lassiter and Eric Baker, both of whom identified Frank “Parky” Grace, a member of the Black Panther Party, as the shooter, and Frank’s brother Ross as his accomplice. Frank had a corroborated alibi that he was elsewhere at the time, but the testimony of the two witnesses was convincing, and in their 1974 trial, Frank was convicted of first-degree murder and his brother of second-degree murder, both receiving life sentences.

In 1982, Ross Grace told the Governor’s Advisory Board of Pardons and Commutations that he was the one who shot Morgan and that his brother was not there. He had lied initially believing that Frank could prove where he was. In a 1984 motion for a new trial, Jasper Lassiter recanted his testimony and asserted that Ross alone had murdered Morgan. He insisted that police forced him to identify Frank as the shooter. “Before my testimony, police officers told me that Frank would be sitting next to Ross in the courtroom and that I should testify that Frank fired the gunshot that killed Morgan.” He added that he had never seen Frank before the trial. Because Frank Grace was an active member of the Black Panther Party, he had been put under surveillance by the FBI, after which the New Bedford police regularly arrested him on a variety of charges, all of which were ultimately dropped.

In addition, a new witness, Ronald Cruz, testified that, from his apartment, he saw Ross shoot the victim and that Frank, whom he knew well, was not there. Another witness also came forward to testify that he was across the street at the time of an argument, saw Ross with a gun and backed away. When he turned to run at the corner, he heard two shots. He knew both brothers and was positive that Frank was not there. He testified that he had called the police at the time to report witnessing the crime, but was told that they already had enough witnesses; his call and name were never recorded. Further, two attorneys no longer constrained by attorney-client privilege testified that Ross had told them separately that he alone had shot Morgan.

In January 1985, Superior Court Justice Elizabeth J. Dolan ordered a new trial for Frank Grace, because “the new evidence revealed at the hearing appeared so grave, material and relevant as to afford a probability that it would be a real factor with the jury in reaching a decision”. Prosecutors decided not to re-prosecute Grace, given the court’s findings and the unavailability of witnesses.

Louis Greco

28 years

Exonerated on January 31, 2001

 

Louis Greco was convicted of the 1965 murder of Edward Deegan, who was shot to death in an alley. The FBI used wire taps in order to eavesdrop on mob members as they asked permission to kill Deegan, who had insulted them. The FBI did nothing with this information, but instead let the hit take place. Deegan was found in Chelsea, Massachusetts after being shot six times with at least three different guns.

Greco was exonerated almost forty years later, after an FBI taskforce discovered evidence that he was convicted based on perjured testimony. Joseph Barboza, a mob informant, testified against Greco and his co-defendants. It was later discovered that the FBI hid information that could exonerate the men because they were trying to protect Barboza, their informant. Sadly, Greco died in prison in 1995 from colon and heart cancer. He was not formally exonerated until 2004, and spent more than 28 years in prison before his death.

Peter Limone

33 years

Exonerated on January 31, 2001

 

Peter Limone was convicted of the 1965 murder of Edward Deegan, who was shot to death in an alley. The FBI used wire taps in order to eavesdrop on mob members as they asked permission to kill Deegan, who had insulted them. The FBI did nothing with this information, but instead let the hit take place. Deegan was found in Chelsea, Massachusetts after being shot six times with at least three different guns.

Together, Joseph Barboza and Vincent Flemmi testified against Limone and five other people including Enrico Tameleo, Joseph Salvati, and Louis Greco. While the two informants admitted to being involved, they never served any time. Tameleo was originally sentenced to death in 1968, but his sentence was reduced to life in prison in 1972.

Limone’s sentence was overturned in 2001 after an FBI taskforce discovered evidence that he was convicted based on perjured testimony. Joseph Barboza, a mob informant, testified against Limone and his co-defendants. It was later discovered that the FBI hid information that could exonerate the men because they were trying to protect Barboza, their informant. Limone spent over thirty years in prison for the crime.

Joseph Salvati

30 years

Exonerated on January 31, 2001

 

Joseph Salvati was convicted of the 1965 murder of Edward Deegan, who was shot to death in an alley. The FBI used wire taps in order to eavesdrop on mob members as they asked permission to kill Deegan, who had insulted them. The FBI did nothing with this information, but instead let the hit take place. Deegan was found in Chelsea, Massachusetts after being shot six times with at least three different guns.

Salvati’s sentence was overturned in 2001, after an FBI task force discovered evidence that he was convicted based on perjured testimony. Joseph Barboza, a mob informant, testified against Salvati and his three co-defendants. It was later discovered that the FBI hid information that could exonerate the men because they were trying to protect Barboza, their informant. Salvati spent over 30 years in prison for the crime.

Read the Boston Herald report

Enrico "Henry" Tameleo

17 years

Exonerated on January 31, 2001

 

Enrico “Henry” Tameleo was convicted of the 1965 murder of Edward Deegan, who was shot to death in an alley. The FBI used wire taps in order to eavesdrop on mob members as they asked permission to kill Deegan, who had insulted them. The FBI did nothing with this information, but instead let the hit take place. Deegan was found in Chelsea, Massachusetts after being shot six times with at least three different guns.

Together, Joseph Barboza and Vincent Flemmi testified against Tameleo and five other people including Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, and Louis Greco. Barboza and Flemmi stated that Tameleo had orchestrated the hit. While the two informants admitted to being involved, they never served any time. Tameleo was originally sentenced to death in 1968, but his sentence was reduced to life in prison in 1972.

It was later discovered that the FBI withheld information that could exonerate the men in effort to protect Barboza and Flemmi. Sadly, Tameleo died in prison of respiratory failure in 1985 after being imprisoned for 17 years. He was formally exonerated posthumously in 2001.

Eric Sarsfield

9 years

Exonerated on August 3, 2000

 

Eric Sarsfield was convicted of raping a women in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1986. Three months after the crime, Sarsfield was taken in by police for a one-on-one show-up in efforts to identify the perpetrator. Though the victim identified Sarsfield as her attacker, she was not certain.

Despite the fact that a rape kit existed, the Commonwealth offered no physical evidence at trial to link Sarsfield to the crime, and its case depended almost entirely on the victim’s less-than-certain identification of her assailant.

In March 2000, DNA tests conducted on the clothing the victim wore at the time of the crime excluded Eric Sarsfield as the source of semen found on the clothing. Sarsfield’s motion for post-conviction relief on August 3, 2000 was granted. The District Attorney’s office declined to re-prosecute.