61st U.S. Prisoner Cleared by DNA


Sept 1, 1999

DNA Test Clears Imprisoned Man STORMVILLE, N.Y. (AP) -- A 60-year-old man who spent 17 years in prison for rape became a free man Wednesday after a DNA test cleared him. Vincent H. Jenkins, also known by the Muslim name of Warith Habib Abdal, was convicted of robbing and raping a 23-year-old woman who was attacked in a Buffalo nature preserve in 1982. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. His lawyer claimed improper police tactics prompted the victim to identify Jenkins months after the rape, even though she wasn't initially able to do so. DNA evidence testing that was completed in April showed virtually beyond any doubt that Jenkins was not the rapist. The technology was not available when he was charged. U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin ruled Tuesday that Jenkins was wrongly convicted of the rape, opening the way for him to be freed. Jenkins is the 61st inmate in the United States to be exonerated by DNA testing. *


*Some news accounts label him the 65th exonerated inmate.



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