News 09.29.16

Three Exonerated by DNA Evidence in Puerto Rico

By Innocence Staff

Three men convicted of a 1988 murder were released Tuesday after prosecutors dropped all charges against them due to new DNA testing which excluded them as perpetrators, according to the Associated Press.

Nelson Ortiz, Jose Caro and Nelson Ruiz were arrested five years after the murder of Glorimar Perez, who was sexually assaulted and shot to death in Aguada, Puerto Rico. The men were convicted based primarily on the testimony of a witness who later recanted, saying he lied in exchange for immunity in his own criminal case.

The trio’s many requests for a new trial were denied until this year, after a law was enacted allowing access to post-conviction DNA testing. Their convictions were overturned in August, making Ortiz, Caro and Ruiz the first people in Puerto Rico to have a conviction overturned due to DNA testing. The testing was facilitated by the Innocence Project at Interamerican University in San Juan.

Ruiz told the Associated Press he plans to reconnect with family.

“That’s the only thing I have left,” he told the AP. “This will help me grow as a person and as a man, because after 28 years of humiliation, the truth is finally known.”

Read the Associated Press story here.

Related: New DNA Testing Law in Puerto Rico Leads to Convictions Being Vacated for Three Men

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