News 09.17.07

DNA proves Dallas man didn’t commit 1982 crime

Innocence Project client Steven Phillips has been in prison for 25 years for a series of sex crimes in Dallas, Texas, that has always maintained he didn’t commit. Now DNA evidence proves he is innocent of the rape for which he was convicted by a jury. The rape case is the only one for which biological evidence exists that can be subjected to DNA testing.  He would later plead guilty to several other crimes believed to have been committed by the same man. The evidence supports this theory, and a judge could clear Phillips of all of the related crimes.

Phillips is the first person to be cleared of wrongdoing by DNA tests ordered by District Attorney Craig Watkins, who took office in January. If exonerated, Phillips would be the 14th person from Dallas County since 2001 to be exonerated based on DNA testing…

Ms. Morrison said although there is no DNA evidence in those other cases, he could be cleared in those, too.

“From the very beginning, the police said all of these crimes were committed by the same man,” Ms. Morrison said. “DNA now proves Steven Phillips was not that man.”

But Mr. Ware said the district attorney’s office is not prepared to agree Mr. Phillips did not commit the other crimes. Prosecutors are still investigating the cases to which he pleaded guilty.

“If the police were correct, that it was one person … then it could impact those cases,” Mr. Ware said.

The issue may ultimately be decided by a judge, he said.

DNA evidence can exonerate someone for related crimes that were committed by the same person even if there is DNA for only one of them, the Innocence Project said.


Read the full story here

. (Dallas Morning News, 09/17/07)

Read about the

13 people exonerated by DNA evidence

to date in Dallas County.

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