California Man Exonerated by DNA Evidence after 14 Years in Prison


California Man Exonerated by DNA Evidence after 14 Years in Prison

Johnny Williams with his attorney, Melissa Dague O’Connell


A California man who was convicted of raping a nine-year-old girl in 1998 was exonerated Friday after new DNA testing secured by the

Northern California Innocence Project

and the

California DNA Project

proved his innocence.


A previously undetected DNA sample on a T-shirt the girl was wearing at the time of the assault excluded Johnny Williams who was paroled in January after serving 14 years behind bars, reported the

Oakland Tribune

. In light of the new evidence, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop charges against Williams, and the Alameda County Superior Court Judge agreed to overturn the conviction. During the investigation, both the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office were unable to pull DNA samples from the girl’s clothing.


Williams was convicted largely based on the victim’s identification which was made at the suggestion of her mother. The victim said her attacker was named Johnny and Williams was the only Johnny she knew from the neighborhood. Following his conviction, Williams wrote a letter to the Northern California Innocence Project seeking assistance, and in 2000, the project began an investigation through its sister organization, the California DNA Project.

“This little girl, just as me, too, we are both victims of this very serious crime, and we both need the person who committed this crime to be brought and placed in prison,” Williams said. “If I could, I would help the Oakland Police Department find this person.”

Read the

full article



Read more

about eyewitness misidentification


Leave a Reply

Thank you for visiting us. You can learn more about how we consider cases here. Please avoid sharing any personal information in the comments below and join us in making this a hate-speech free and safe space for everyone.

This field is required.
This field is required.
This field is required.

We've helped free more than 240 innocent people from prison. Support our work to strengthen and advance the innocence movement.