Eight Years Ago Today
Today marks the eighth anniversary of the day
walked out of an Oklahoma prison a free man for the first time in more than 14 years. He was convicted in 1986 of a rape he didn’t commit, based in part on the misleading testimony of notorious forensic analyst Joyce Gilchrist.
In 1985, a woman was raped in her Oklahoma City home, and Pierce became a suspect because he was working in the area with a landscaping crew. He didn’t match the victim’s initial description of the perpetrator, however, and she did not identify him when he was pointing out as a suspect. Months later, he was included in a photo lineup wearing clothes that matched her description of the perpetrator and she identified him as the attacker.
Gilchrist, whose testimony has been involved in at least four wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing, testified at Pierce’s trial that hairs collected from the victim’s apartment shared unique characteristics with Pierce’s hair. He was convicted and sentenced to 65 years in prison. He served nearly 15 years before he was freed by DNA testing that proved his innocence and implicated the real perpetrator.
Today, Pierce lives in Michigan with his family, including his adult twin sons who were infants at the time of his conviction.
Other Anniversary This Week:
, West Virginia (Served 4.5 Years, Exonerated 1992)
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