Saturday will mark the seventh anniversary of
Clark Jerome McMillan
’s exoneration in Tennessee. On May 2, 2002, he walked out of a Tennessee courthouse a free man after 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
In 1980, McMillan was convicted of rape and robbery with a deadly weapon. The conviction was based on questionable eyewitness identifications and a flawed lineup procedure. McMillan walked with an obvious limp, but neither the 16-year old victim, nor her boyfriend who had been present at the crime scene, mentioned a limp in their initial descriptions of the perpetrator. At trial, however, the limp was added to the victim’s description.
The first photo lineup shown to the victims included a photo of McMillan, but the victim picked no one and her boyfriend identified another person in the lineup. At the live lineup, the victim identified McMillan but the boyfriend again selected someone else. Nevertheless, at trial both identified McMillan in a line-up. Although McMillan’s alibi was supported by his sister and girlfriend, McMillan was convicted and sentenced to 119 years in prison.
In 1997 the Innocence Project accepted McMillan’s case. After years spent tracking down his files and evidence and negotiating a protocol for testing, DNA testing was finally done on biological evidence in the rape kit and the results excluded McMillan as a possible perpetrator. After more than two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, McMillan was finally freed.
Other Exoneration Anniversary This Week:
, Pennsylvania (Served 16.5 Years, Exonerated 2006)