A man who has spent over 16 years in prison for a rape in the 1980s he didn't commit was recently sentenced to several more years in prison on charges of second-degree battery.
The new conviction arises from accusations that the 54-year-old man punched a woman in the face several times in September last year. The batter reportedly caused serious bodily injury to the woman. He was convicted on those charges in March.
The incident apparently took place while the man and the victim were using crack cocaine. He admitted to State District Judge Tony Marabella that he has a "serious drug problem" and the court ordered him to receive drug treatment during his time in confinement.
Prosecutors said the man has a long history of criminal activity, and they are attempting to have the man declared a "habitual offender." Such move would enhance the man's sentence. A habitual offender hearing is reportedly being held on January 9.
Sources said the man was convicted in 1987 for the aggravated rape of a 13-year-old girl in a public housing complex on Duane Street. He was later sentenced to life in prison. He was released in December of 2002 when DNA testing cleared his name.
According to the Innocence Project, an organization that advocates for the wrongfully accused, the man's conviction rested heavily on the victim's identification shortly after the crime took place. The mix-up apparently occurred because the man was found to be in possession of a radio that was stolen by the victim's assailant out of her room, and because of a similarity in features between the exonerated man and the true assailant.
Source: chron.com, "Freed inmate sentenced on battery charge," Sep 28, 2011.