RAPIST WHO WAS FIRST DNA CONVICTION IN U.S. MAY GO FREE SOON
Serial rapist Tommie Lee Andrews, the first defendant convicted in the United States using DNA evidence,
might soon be a free man.
After serving a fraction of his 62-year sentence, Andrews is scheduled to be released by the Florida Department of Corrections on Dec. 30, or possibly sooner. The man who prosecutors say "terrorized the female population of Orlando" could be free in a matter of months.
Former Assistant State Attorney Tim Berry was tasked with prosecuting Andrews. Shortly before the cases went to trial, then-prosecutor Jeff Ashton approached Berry about an emerging science known as DNA testing that he'd read about in a magazine article about paternity testing,
Berry decided to give the new science a shot. At the time, it had been successful in only one other criminal case: a double rape-murder in England.
"We explained how DNA evidence worked, and the judge allowed it into evidence," Berry said. "It was the first time in the U.S. it had been successfully introduced into evidence."
Andrews has been behind bars since 1988 after two separate juries found him guilty in two violent rape cases using DNA evidence.