Illinois Prisoner’s Conviction Overturned based on DNA Evidence


Six years after DNA testing first suggested Juan Rivera’s innocence, an Illinois appellate court reversed his 1992 rape and murder conviction on Friday. DNA testing conducted in 2005 proved that Rivera was not the source of the semen found inside the victim’s body.

Rivera was convicted three separate times for the murder and rape of an 11-year-old suburban babysitter. Without physical evidence connecting him to the crime scene or victim, Rivera’s supporters believe that he falsely confessed to the crime—Rivera was 19 years old at the time and was interrogated for four days. The New York Times reported:

Mr. Rivera, speaking by telephone from prison, said that he learned of the ruling early Saturday from several inmates, and that the news was greeted by cheers in his cellblock. “It was overwhelming,” he said. “It’s still a shocker at this point.

Rivera is currently serving a life sentence and could face another appeal by state prosecutors before he is released. Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions represents Rivera.

Read the full New York Times article.

Read the

Chicago Tribune article.

Watch an ABC news clip.

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