DNA evidence stored in a hospital drawer for more than 20 years has proven the innocence of Anthony Capozzi, 50, a Buffalo, New York, man who has served 20 years for a series of rapes he didn’t commit. DNA tests have proven that another man committed the crimes, officials say. That man was arrested in January in connection with other crimes.
The main evidence against Capozzi at trial were the identifications of the three victims, none of whom mentioned a prominent scar on Capozzi’s face. All three victims said their attacker was about 150 pounds; Capozzi was over 200 pounds. Capozzi’s lawyers and the Erie County District Attorney have said Capozzi may be released from prison within a week.
“Eyewitness testimony is devastating, but you’ve got to be very skeptical,” (Capozzi’s attorney Thomas) D’Agostino said. “In Anthony’s case, the problem was that you had three victims who came in and each one said it was him. You get to a point where jurors say, ‘Maybe the first one was wrong, but all three of them can’t be wrong — they’re all saying it was the same guy.’ ”
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Eyewitness misidentification played a role in the wrongful convictions of more than 75 percent of those exonerated by DNA evidence to date. A man exonerated this morning in St. Louis, Antonio Beaver, was convicted almost solely on the testimony of a single victim, who chose him from a severely flawed lineup.
Read more on Beaver’s case