Robert McClendon will be released from prison this evening in Ohio after DNA tests proved he didn’t commit the rape he was convicted of in 1991 according to news reports. McClendon served 18 years in prison before a joint investigation by the Columbus Dispatch and the Ohio Innocence Project identified his case as a candidate for DNA testing. He first filed for testing in 2004, but never got a decision from the judge.
An Ohio lab agreed to conduct DNA testing pro bono in 30 cases identified by the Ohio Innocence Project and the Dispatch. McClendon’s is the first case to end with test results, and the results exonerated him. He is represented by the Ohio Innocence Project, a member of the Innocence Network.
He was granted a new trial today by a Franklin County judge, who agreed for him to be released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors will now decide whether to retry McClendon or dismiss charges against him, which would officially exonerate him.