Innocent Man to be Released After 24 Years
With the exception of executing the innocent, it doesn't get any worse than this.
Arrested, tried and convicted in just three months, [Michael] Williams was sentenced to hard labor for life with no possibility for parole and dispatched to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, one of the nation's most notorious and deadly prisons. At times the institution lived up to its reputation. In one incident, Williams said, he was stabbed 16 times.
It took Williams' jury only an hour to decide that he beat and sexually assaulted his math tutor. That was in 1981, and Williams was just 16. Williams was the victim of his tutor's mistaken identification.
Now, nearly 24 years after his arrest, independent DNA tests by three laboratories, including the Louisiana state crime lab, show what Williams has long contended: He is not the man who committed the crime.
Williams becomes the 159th convicted defendant whose innocence has been established by DNA. Williams' lawyers and the district attorney in Jonesboro are (in the DA's words) "in the process of reaching a mutually agreeable method for securing his release from incarceration . . . on March 11."
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