Update: Ricardo Rachell Freed in Houston


Ricardo Rachell was freed this morning after a bond hearing in a Houston courtroom. He served five years in prison for a sexual assault of a child he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and pointed to the identity of another man serving time in prison for similar crimes, prosecutors said.

Rachell was tried and convicted in 2002; by that time, DNA testing was being used widely nationwide. Police collected biological evidence from the victim and a sample from Rachell, but that evidence was never subjected to DNA testing. Instead, the prosecution relied on eyewitness testimony from two children. Prosecutors have confirmed that they knew of the biological evidence before Rachell’s trial, and that it was a mistake not to conduct testing. They have also said they will work to ensure that Rachell’s conviction is overturned and that his name is cleared. In the meantime, he will be home with his family for the holidays after five years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

After the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Roe Wilson said her office will work to ensure that Rachell's conviction is overturned.

"Our goal is to make sure justice is done. And today, that means making sure Mr. Rachell is out of custody and returned to his family," Wilson said.

Read the full story here

. (Houston Chronicle, 12/12/08)

The Innocence Project will review details in Rachell’s case for possible inclusion in our database of DNA exonerations once his exoneration becomes official.


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