DNA Tests Could Lead to Exoneration in Florida


A Florida man who has been in prison for nearly two decades could be freed soon based on DNA test results pointing to his innocence, the Innocence Project of Florida said this week.

Derrick Williams was convicted in 1992 of a rape he has always said he didn’t commit. The victim identified Williams as the perpetrator who removed his gray t-shirt during the attack and covered her face with it. He was convicted by a jury despite his alibi and a finding before the trial that a hair found on the t-shirt could not belong to Williams.

DNA testing was recently ordered on the gray t-shirt as a result of an agreement between the Innocence Project of Florida and the State Attorney’s office. The results excluded Derrick Williams and point to an unknown male perpetrator. Florida Innocence Project attorneys said they hope Williams is freed soon.

 “After over 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, the state should do the right thing and release this innocent man immediately,” said Williams’ attorney, Melissa Montle, staff attorney for the Innocence Project of Florida.

. . .

While nothing can replace the years gone by, Derrick’s family said getting him back is all that matters now.

“It would be nice, and then I could look at all my kids. They might not be there every day, but I can look at them, I know they’re there,” said Inez Williams.

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