As 2008 comes to an end, we look back at a few of the 24 exoneration cases that occurred throughout the year as a result of forensic DNA testing. For the first time in many years, these exonerees will be spending the holidays at home. Fourteen of these have been officially exonerated, while at least 10 more wait for their exonerations to become official.
William Dillon, a Florida man, became the 226th person to be exonerated with the help of DNA testing in November. Before his release, Mr. Dillon had spent 27 years of a life sentence incarcerated for a 1981 homicide.
Miguel Roman was freed on December 19th from a Connecticut prison after he served 20 years for a crime that he had always maintained he did not commit. Mr. Roman currently awaits his official exoneration.
Charles Chatman, who at the time was considered the longest incarcerated exoneree, spent 27 years of his sentence in a Texas prison. Over the course of his imprisonment Mr. Chatman waived his eligibility for parole three times by refusing to admit to a crime that he did not commit. In February of this year, after forensic evidence proved his innocence, a judge dismissed all charges against Mr. Chatman. In addition to Chatman, five other exonerees were released from Texas prisons.
Robert McClendon, who in 1990 was convicted of child rape and spent 18 years incarcerated, walked out of an Ohio prison this August rejoicing the words, “Hello Truth.” DNA Diagnostics Center had privilege of working with the Ohio Innocence Project and the Columbus Dispatch on this case, and performed the DNA testing that ultimately freed Mr. McClendon.
In addition to the above mentioned cases, this December marks the anniversary for eight other exonerees:
Dwayne Scruggs, Indiana (Served 7.5 Years, Exonerated in 1993)
Clyde Charles, Louisiana (Served 17 Years, exonerated in 1999)
McKinely Cromedy, New Jersey (Served 5 Years, exonerated in 1999)
Larry Mayes, Indiana (Served 18.5 Years, Exeonerated in 2001)
Clarence Elkins, Ohio (Served 6.5 Years, exonerated in 2005)
John Kogut, New York (Served 17 Years, Exonerated in 2005)
Keith Turner, Texas (Served 4 Years, Exonerated in 2005)
Entre Nax Karage, Texas (Served 6.5 Years, Exonereated in 2005)
Happy Holidays from everyone at DDC!