More than three decades have passed since Michael VonAllmen was convicted in Kentucky of a rape he has always said he didn’t commit. On Friday, a judge finally cleared his name.
VonAllmen served 11 years in prison before he was released on parole in 1994. He never stopped his quest to clear his name, however, and on Friday he achieved that goal.
Upon hearing Cunningham’s decision, VonAllmen’s family and friends clapped and the 57-year-old pulled out a handkerchief to wipe tears from his eyes.
“It meant the nightmare was over,” said VonAllmen, who spent 11 years in prison for the conviction on rape, sodomy and robbery charges before being paroled in 1994. “The nightmare had turned into a dream … and I am living it and not waking up.” VonAllmen was convicted of rape, sodomy and robbery nearly 30 years ago despite several alibis and the victim’s description of the attacker having blue eyes while VonAllmen are brown. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The Kentucky Innocence Project’s DNA unit, working under the Bloodsworth Actual Innocence Grant Program (which authorizes $5 million per year for five years for post-conviction DNA testing) tested several hairs that were collected in 1981 following the rape. Unfortunately, the test results came back inconclusive. But during the reinvestigation, the Kentucky Innocence Project developed new evidence supporting VonAllmen’s innocence claim and identified an alternative suspect who was charged with a similar crime in 1978, but died in died in 1983 while fleeing from police.
The Judge dismissed VanAllemn’s conviction stating the evidence suggests he did not commit the crimes.
The prosecutor has until the end of the month to decide whether or not to prosecute VanAllmen again.