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Convictions Overturned On DNA Evidence – Dale’s Daily Data

A lab technician checking the results of DNA testing (Getty Images)

One of the most famous wrongful conviction cases here in Erie County was the case of Anthony Cappozzi. He served 21 and a half years in prison for
two Delaware Park rapes he didn’t commit. He refused to admit he did the crimes or to take responsibility so each time his parole came up he would be denied. It was back just a few years ago that DNA evidence exonerated Cappozzi and matched Altemio Sanchez – the guy convicted in the Bike Path Rape and Murder cases.

There have been 273 convictions overturned on DNA evidence in the United States, 26 of them in New York State.

Texas leads the nation with 41 wrongful convictions.

17 of those wrongly convicted people served time on death row.

The average length of time they served in prison was 13 years.

Here are some famous cases around the country over the years –

  • In Alabama, Bill Wilson was convicted of the 1912 murders of his wife and child.  He was exonerated in 1918 when both were found living in Indiana.
  • An Arizona man was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of a bar manager.  Prosecutors convinced bite marks on the victim matched the suspect’s teeth.  Ten years later DNA tests proved he was innocent.
  • An Arkansas man was hanged for the 1887 murder of his lover’s missing husband.  Six years later the murder “victim” was found alive in Kansas.
  • The victim of an Illinois rape in 1977 said she was positive Gary Dotson was the man who attacked her.  DNA tests cleared him 12 years later.
  • In Ohio, Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted of murdering his wife in 1955.  He was acquitted during a retrial 11 years later.  The TV show and movie “The Fugitive” was loosely based on that case.
  • In Massachusetts, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for a 1927 robbery and double homicide.  The evidence was shaky and for years historians wrote the two were denied their basic rights.  Ot the 50th anniversary of their execution, governor Dukakis pardoned them.
  • A Texas man served 30 years in jail for rape and robbery and like Anthony Cappozzi during his parole hearings he refused to admit to the crime.   This past January DNA evidence finally cleared him of the crime.

SOURCE; wikipedia, innocenceproject.org,

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