News 01.20.09

New Hope for DNA Testing in Ohio

Saying that a 2008 exoneration in his county changed his mind about the power of DNA testing, an Ohio District Attorney has agreed to allow DNA testing in the case of a man in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Charles Dumas has been in prison for a decade for a rape he says he didn’t commit. He is seeking DNA testing that could prove his innocence but had been told that evidence was lost. Now, after prosecutors renewed their search, the evidence has been found and will likely be sent for testing this week.

The roots of Dumas’ success in achieving DNA testing lie in

Robert McClendon

’s 2008 exoneration. Last year, Franklin County District Attorney Ron O’Brien agreed to testing in the McClendon case after a private lab offered to conduct the testing for free. Although DNA testing at McClendon’s trial had been inconclusive, newer testing proved his innocence and led to his release.

"What we found with the McClendon case is it makes us more willing to take a second look at evidence that may have been previously tested," O'Brien said.

McClendon’s case was appealed as part of a joint project between the Ohio Innocence Project and the Columbus Dispatch. Dumas’ case was also reviewed by the project but not appealed because evidence was believed to have been lost.

"This test means my life; it's my last chance to prove to my children I didn't do this," said Dumas, an inmate at the North Central Correctional Institution near Marion.


Read the full story here

. (Columbus Dispatch, 01/20/2009)

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