Wisconsin man still working to prove his innocence, 27 years later


For 27 years, Ralph Armstrong has proclaimed his innocence, to no avail. But evidence disclosed this month pointing to the real perpetrator’s identity, combined with DNA test results from 2005, casts serious doubt on his conviction.

Armstrong was 28 years old when he was convicted of killing a 19-year-old college freshman in Madison, Wisconsin; today he is 55. In 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out his conviction after DNA test results excluded him as the source of biological evidence from the crime scene. He is currently awaiting a new trial.

The Innocence Project has worked for years on Armstrong’s case with lawyers at the Wisconsin Innocence Project and other private attorneys. A new brief filed this month by the Innocence Project and Armstrong’s local counsel reveals two affidavits showing that Armstrong’s brother, Steve, has admitted that he committed the crime. The brief goes on to allege that the Dane County prosecutors knew of Steve Armstrong’s confession in 1995 but failed to share this information with Ralph Armstrong or his lawyers.

“[T]he state deliberately suppressed and withheld, for approximately the last thirteen years, information that a known third party confessed to the rape and murder of the victim in this case,” states the brief, filed on April 17 by Armstrong’s defense attorneys, Jerome Buting of Brookfield and Barry Scheck of New York. The brief to Wisconsin’s Dist. 4 Court of Appeals calls this confession “exculpatory evidence supporting the claim of Ralph Armstrong that he is innocent of this crime.”

Read more about Ralph Armstrong’s case here

. (Madison Isthmus, 04/25/08)

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