After spending nearly 17 years behind bars, 40-year-old Nathan Brown is now a free man.
Brown was arrested and charged with the rape of a 40-year-old woman at a New Orleans apartment complex where they both lived. He was convicted three months later, and sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
But after a request by the Innocence Project to have the Jefferson Parish District Attorney conduct DNA testing, the results excluded Brown as the source of the DNA samples and identified another known individual as a suspect in the case.
Those results led District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. to vacate Brown’s attempted aggravated rape conviction and dismiss the case, resulting in his immediate release.
“I’m just happy to be free,” Brown told reporters. “Back with my family; it’s a wonderful feeling.”
At the time of the investigation, detectives used the victim’s description to charge Brown, but after a thorough review by the Conviction Integrity Panel, it was concluded that Brown was in fact innocent.
The Innocence Project works to clear wrongfully convicted people. They discovered that Brown was at home rocking his young daughter when police arrested him and presented him in a lineup to a woman who had been attacked earlier on the grounds outside the apartment building.
The victim, who was white, told police she saw her attacker get on a bike and leave the scene. Despite that, police sought Brown based on information from the building’s security guard who did not witness the incident.
Attorney’s for the Innocence Project are now working with Brown to obtain compensation from the state for all of the years he was behind bars.
If only there was a way to figure out who’s innocent BEFORE they serve decades behind bars. Good luck to Mr. Brown in his next phase of life as a free man.
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