Darryl Pinkins, Exonerated After 25 Years In Prison For Rape

Yesterday, Darryl Keith Pinkins, 63, of Gary, Indiana, walked out prison a free man after serving 25 years for a rape and robbery he did not commit. He was greeted by his friends and family, including his now 24-year-old son, born after he was convicted.

Background

Darryl Pinkins, 37 at the time of the case, was accused along with four other men, of raping a woman from Hammond, Indiana. The crime was alleged to have occurred on December 7, 1989. The 27-year-old accuser was returning from visiting a friend in Hammond when her car was bumped from behind by another car. When she stopped and stepped out to inspect the damage, the state alleged that five men forced her into their vehicle and took her to Gary, Indiana, where they raped her for two hours before letting her go.

The State of Indiana’s case against Pinkins consisted of the accuser’s identification testimony, testimony from investigating police officers, and Reginald West, a jailhouse snitch. The accuser identified Pinkins as one of the five who supposedly raped her. Pinkins’ defense attorney, William Drozda, brought out at trial that earlier, the accuser had two cocktails and a beer at the American Legion Post and that at the time of her hospital examination, her blood-alcohol content was .11, about .03 above being legally drunk, and within range of the level of intoxication where a normal person’s concentration and vision would be impaired. Reginald West testified that Pinkins had confessed to him while they were both beld at the Lake County Correctional Facility in exchange for a plea agreement on his own charges.

After three weeks of trial and 15 and a half hours of deliberation, the jury found Pinkins guilty of rape, deviate sexual conduct, and armed robbery and sentenced to 65 years.

Exoneration

In 2007, the Indiana University Innocence Project took up Pinkins’ case. They used a recently developed DNA testing technology called TrueAllele. TrueAllele uses computer-based analysis as opposed to human-based analysis of DNA data. The TrueAllele system found 5 unidentified genotypes in semen and hair samples taken from the accuser. 3 genotypes belonged to three related men. None belonged to Pinkins. Another codefendant, Roosevelt Glenn, was also excluded by TrueAllele. The Indiana University-based Innocence Project submitted the test results to Lake County prosecutor Bernard Carter who declined to retry the case.

Pinkins’ accuser, identified only as M.W., maintains that Pinkins raped her.

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