A Georgia man has been exonerated from his 2002 rape conviction and released from prison after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence due to new DNA analysis that cleared him of all wrongdoing.
Kerry Robinson, 44, walked out of a southern Georgia prison a free man on Wednesday after Boise State University DNA scientist Greg Hampikian ran his DNA through a new software tool used by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The new analysis concluded that "a random African-American's DNA is 1,800 times more likely than Robinson's DNA to explain the evidence mixture," according to CNN. Once the new evidence was brought before Superior Court Judge Brian McDaniel, he exonerated Robinson and vacated his conviction.
"I find and the State agrees that justice requires that Kerry Robinson's conviction of February 26, 2002, is immediately vacated and his sentence is voided and set aside," McDaniel concluded.
Robinson was accused of being involved in a three-man rape of a woman in Moultrie, GA in 1993. After the woman identified one of her attackers from a yearbook photo, the attacker accused Robinson of being involved.
During Robinson's trial, prosecutors introduced a rape kit that included a mixture of DNA for up to four people — two of whom were the victim and the identified attacker.
After an analyst testified that a portion of the unaccounted-for DNA was similar to Robinson's, he was sentenced to 20 years despite never being identified by the rape survivor.
Clare Gilbert, executive director of the Georgia Innocence Project which represented Robinson, said they were overjoyed at the results of the new analysis and hoped it would be used more often moving forward:
"We are thrilled to see this unjust conviction finally corrected. The factors that led to Kerry Robinson's conviction — flawed forensics and false testimony from an incentivized cooperator — are present in so many wrongful conviction cases. Our fight continues on behalf of the many innocent men and women who remain imprisoned in Georgia."