Saturday, March 29th, will mark the one year anniversary of Antonio Beaver’s exoneration in the state of Missouri. Beaver spent more than 10 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.
In the summer of 1996, a woman was attacked while parking her car on her way to work. During the struggle, the victim noticed that the man was bleeding and that there was blood inside the car. She managed to free herself and call the police. The day after the attack, the victim helped police draw a composite sketch of her assailant, noting a defect in her attacker’s teeth. Six days later, a detective arrested Antonio Beaver because he thought Beaver resembled the man in the composite sketch. In the police line-up, Beaver was the only man who had a noticeable defect in his teeth.
At trial, the victim identified Beaver and after the court deliberated for two days, Beaver was convicted of first-degree robbery and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing.
Read more about eyewitness misidentification here
In 2001, Beaver filed a motion on his own behalf requesting DNA testing. The state opposed the motion, but the court granted a hearing on the issue in 2005. The Innocence Project accepted his case and filed a new motion for testing in 2006. The state agreed to grant testing and the DNA results proved Beaver’s innocence.
Beaver was officially exonerated on March 29th, 2007.
Read more about his case here