Recent blood tests have confirmed that a Louisiana man serving life behind bars for a 1988 rape and armed robbery is actually innocent. Innocence Project client Booker Diggins, who was convicted of the crimes, has been behind bars for 22 years for a crime he didn’t commit.
Diggins was convicted based on the eyewitness testimony of the victim, who picked him out of a photo line-up as the man who raped her. Prosecutors knew that semen was recovered from the rape kit, but never shared this information with defense attorneys, so Diggins’ blood typed was never tested, and therefore compared to the semen from the perpetrator.
More than two decades after the conviction, Diggins managed to purchase a copy of his case file for $209, where he discovered that the biological evidence had been withheld. DNA testing can’t be conducted because the evidence has been missing since Hurricane Katrina, but the Innocence Project filed an appeal earlier this month seeking a hearing on the blood-type evidence.
“This is bulletproof scientific evidence that he is not the guy,” said attorney Barry Scheck. “He wasn’t the rapist and they could have known that in 1988.”