In 1989, David Lee Wiggins was sentenced to life in prison for raping a 14 year old girl. However, after writing the Innocence Project, DNA evidence has exonerated him.
The Innocence Project seeks to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners on the basis of more solid evidence, like DNA. Eyewitness misidentification, improper forensic science, and false confessions are all used as evidence and can convict the wrong person for terrible crimes.
Wiggins was accused of breaking into the girl’s Fort Worth home after she came home alone. Two finger prints were found at the scene and did not match Wiggins, but the distraught girl picked him out of a lineup. She says she was able to see her attacker three times during the attack.
Wiggins contacted the Innocence Project, who filed for DNA testing for the first time in October 2007. The tests were inconclusive, but the group continued to work on Wiggins’ behalf, and filed for a different type of test in 2010. The test used a scrap of sperm cell found on the girl’s boxer shorts, and this year, the test concluded that Wiggins was not the rapist.
“We had to make sure that we had it right,” Assistant Tarrant County District Attorney, Steven Conder, said.
“It’s eye-opening,” Conder said in an interview. “And it tells you as a prosecutor, even though you have a judgment, you want to be open to the fact that there might be a problem with it.”
Wiggins was in jail in Tarrant County, Texas, and is the second person in that county to be exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence. Once he is exonerated, Wiggins will be eligible for $80,000 assistance that the Texas government pays to wrongfully convicted prisoners.
Wrongful convictions are difficult to overturn, and can take years. However, the experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC specialize in criminal defense, including federal criminal defense. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800.