After a combined 36yrs in prison for a 1991 rape they didn't commit, VanDyke Perry (l) and Gregory Counts (r) have had their convictions vacated. @ManhattanDA Cy Vance (c) expressed his deep regret. @wcbs880 pic.twitter.com/9UFIOCEs6C— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) May 7, 2018
Two African-American men, who were wrongfully convicted of rape in 1992, had their convictions vacated after the woman admitted that she fabricated the rape allegations.
It all began in January 1991 when a woman, who remains unnamed, reached out to police authorities and told them that three black men allegedly kidnapped her at knife point and raped her. The woman identified the three men.
Police began a hunt for them and succeeded in arresting two of the men. Gregory Counts and VanDyke Perry, 19 and 21, respectively, at the time of their arrest, were charged with rape, sodomy, kidnapping and criminal possession of a weapon.
However, the third man was never found.
Counts and Perry were convicted despite the fact there was no material evidence that proved or even indicated their connection with the incident.
As a result, Perry ended up serving 11 years behind bars and Counts served a long sentence of 26 years in prison before being released on parole in 2017.
DA: This case is a tragedy for all involved. It is every prosecutor’s nightmare to convict the innocent. pic.twitter.com/ad2OvoTFPS— Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) May 7, 2018
The decision came after the woman reportedly told investigators that the incident never happened and that she made the entire thing up to apparently save her boyfriend who had shot Perry.
Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., shared the news on his Twitter account.
“The motions to vacate and dismiss have been granted. This case is a tragedy for all involved. It is every prosecutor's nightmare to convict the innocent,” he said in a series of tweets.
Defense attorneys also argued that the case was flawed from the beginning and was not consistent because the woman changed her statements too often.
The two men walked joyfully out of New York State Supreme Court after a judge exonerated them. However, the bogus conviction has greatly affected their lives.
After their release, Perry struggled to find a job but later succeeded and found work building cars and buildings. He then married and had children.
“This wrongful conviction destroyed my life. But I never gave up my fight,” said Perry.
Counts was also very emotional and shared similar views.
“I can’t be angry. If I waste a minute being angry it’s a waste of time. That’s a minute I could have been happy,” he said.
He is still looking for a job but is thankful he has a supportive family.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Dominick Reuter