The case against Andre Davis, who was represented by the Center on Wrongful Convictions, was dismissed by prosecutors on Friday after he was excluded in post-conviction DNA testing on crime scene evidence.
Davis was convicted of the 1980 rape and murder of three-year-old Brianna Stickle and requested DNA testing in 2004. The results proved that blood and semen found at the scene weren’t from Davis but belonged to Maurice Tucker—the principal witness against Davis. Following that discovery, the Fourth District Illinois Appellate Court overturned the conviction in March and said that the new DNA evidence discredited the prosecution’s argument against him, reported the Rantoul Press.
Rob Warden, executive director at the Center for Wrongful Convictions, said that the 32 years Davis served is “the longest time served by any known innocent person in Illinois.”
It would have been longer if prosecutors had their way. Prosecution and defense lawyers have known since 2004 that Davis was not the source of the DNA.
Nonetheless, prosecutors fought doggedly to preserve the conviction, to the point of arguing that Davis was not entitled to any kind of hearing because he had waited too long to file a motion to overturn his conviction based on newly discovered evidence.
Davis was released from the southern Illinois maximum security state prison Tamms, and picked up by his father. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz indicated that there is no statute of limitation on murder, but didn’t specify whether she will move to prosecute Tucker.
Read more about the case.