TX - DNA clears Larry Fuller of '81 Dallas rape

Beyond Belief

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DALLAS (AP) -- A decorated Vietnam veteran convicted of rape 25 years ago became a free man Tuesday after a judge ruled he probably wouldn't have been found guilty if DNA testing had been available.

Specialized DNA testing performed this year proved Larry Fuller, 57, was not the assailant who raped a Dallas woman in her home. Fuller has spent about two decades in prison for the crime.

"My faith was tested and I won," he said, trembling slightly as he left the courthouse carrying two worn paperback Bibles.

Fuller was sentenced in 1981 to 50 years behind bars after jurors convicted him of aggravated rape. Authorities claimed that he broke into a 37-year-old woman's apartment and raped her, using a butcher knife to cut her as she struggled.


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CONVICTION_CLEARED?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US
The woman looked at two photo lineups, both of which included Fuller. She picked him in the second one, even though Fuller was bearded in the picture and she said her attacker had no facial hair
 

LovelyPigeon

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I couldn't hold back the tears when I read articles about Larry Fuller. 25 YEARS convicted of an awful crime he didn't commit, and 20 years spent in prison.

This is the 10th--TENTH--case in Dallas County, Texas where DNA has overturned false convictions from 20-25 years again. Something went very wrong in that part of Texas, and needs an immediate investigation. Meanwhile, there are nearly a dozen other cases in Dallas County being reviewed and examined by the Innocence Project. The 10 cases so far many just be the tip of the iceberg in that county alone.

Fuller's story is more heartbreaking when looked at closely:

...In April 1981, a Dallas woman was attacked and raped in her bedroom. When police showed her photographs of potential suspects two days later, she did not identify Fuller, according to the Innocence Project.

Several days later, police showed her a second group of photos. The photograph of Fuller was the only one that appeared in both arrays. Although the victim said her attacker did not have facial hair, and Fuller was pictured with a full beard, she identified him and he was arrested.

Fuller was 32 at the time, raising two children with his girlfriend. Years earlier, as a student at Dallas Baptist College, he was drafted by the Army. He served two tours of duty, volunteering for the second one. He eventually received an Air Medal and an honorable discharge.
- http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/15892947.htm

Police showed the victim several photos at her home two days after the rape; although Fuller's photo was among the six she was shown, the victim did not identify him. The investigating police officer issued a report recommending that the investigation be "suspended," noting that the victim "was unsure of the suspect at this time." The investigation continued, however - and police investigating the crime apparently remained focused on Fuller.

Several days later, police again showed the victim several photographs at her home to see whether she could identify her attacker. Fuller's photo was the only one in the second photo array that was also in the first one. The victim was alarmed that Fuller had a full beard, since she had said her attacker did not have facial hair. Placing her fingers over the bottom part of the photo, to block half of Fuller's face, she then positively identified him, and he was arrested. In August 1981, Fuller had a two-day trial - in which the prosecution said the victim had "never wavered" in identifying him. After deliberating for 35 minutes, the jury convicted him.
- http://www.innocenceproject.org/press/index.php
 

GlitchWizard

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It's not just that county. The entire system needs to be reworked.

I don't know which is worse, that long behind bars, or if he had been put to death for it.
 

Ntegrity

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GlitchWizard said:
I don't know which is worse, that long behind bars, or if he had been put to death for it.
You don't know which is worse? Seriously???? :waitasec:
 

lostfaith

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This is EXACTLY the same situation with Steven Avery. The woman he was accused of raping was shown pictures twice, and he was the only one who was in both sets of pictures. He then spent, I think it was around 20 years also in prision for the crime and was exonerated by DNA evidence and released by the innocence project. He then went on to rape and kill Teresa Halbach, well he is accused of it and has not had his trial yet.

Just saying, such similar cases.
 

GlitchWizard

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Ntegrity said:
You don't know which is worse? Seriously???? :waitasec:
No. Not seriously. :crazy: In some states, some types of rape is a death penalty offense. No one would have even checked his DNA today, if he was already executed way back when.
 

GlitchWizard

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Weird. He was caught for the one he DIDN'T do, and possibly not for others he had committed previously. Or maybe he was corrupted in prison? It's a weird story, no matter which came first, I suppose.



lostfaith said:
This is EXACTLY the same situation with Steven Avery. The woman he was accused of raping was shown pictures twice, and he was the only one who was in both sets of pictures. He then spent, I think it was around 20 years also in prision for the crime and was exonerated by DNA evidence and released by the innocence project. He then went on to rape and kill Teresa Halbach, well he is accused of it and has not had his trial yet.

Just saying, such similar cases.
 

sandraladeda

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GlitchWizard said:
No one would have even checked his DNA today, if he was already executed way back when.
Great point - no one is checking dna on old cases to see if the right guy really got the needle.

I just read John Grisham's newest book a couple weeks ago - The Innocent Man,
a true story of Ron Williamson, wrongfully convicted of murder in Oklahoma, sent to death row, in absolutely inhuman conditions, and saved 5 days short of his execution date by the work of the Innocence Project. This book also covers other wrongful convictions, just to highlight that Ron Williamson's was not an isolated case.

For anyone who thinks innocent people don't get the death penalty, I dare you to read this book.

imho
 
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