After nearly 50 years behind bars, Tyrone Clarke’s rape conviction was dropped and he was released
Since 1974, Tyrone Clark has been behind bars for a rape he says he did not commit.
Now he will walk freely.
Clark, 66, was due for release on Wednesday, according to The Boston Globe.
Part of Clark’s release is tied to the lack of remaining physical evidence from the alleged 1973 crime, including biological material on the victim’s clothing. The only physical evidence that remained was a knife handle that was said to have been compromised after being hit over the past decades, a press release says.
Another aspect of the case was that the victim came forward without any prompting, according to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins in the statement.
“This matter came to the attention of my office after the victim, unsolicited, raised serious doubts as to his identification of the accused,” Rollins said in the statement. “When we started to dig into the matter, we learned that almost half a century ago the Commonwealth lost or destroyed potentially exculpatory evidence. The defendant and this administration have been denied the opportunity to perform modern forensic testing due to the failure of previous administrations to retain such DNA evidence. The Commonwealth should never take advantage of our failures and wrongdoing. “
Setting aside the rape conviction does not mean that Clark’s other charges were also dropped, according to the World. These include armed robberies and kidnappings.
In 1973, Clark was 18; the 23-year-old victim chose it from a series of photos. The incident in question allegedly included a man breaking into the victim’s apartment in Back Bay and raping her at the threat of a knife, according to the World.
In 2005, Clark was paroled. He was returned to jail just over a year later after allegedly stealing $ 400 worth of clothing.
It was in 2019 that the victim wrote to the state parole board to say that she was not entirely sure her identification was correct. This was associated with the fact that without physical evidence Clark could not try to prove that he did not commit the crime, the newspaper reported.
Even though the victim withdrew her identification, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine Roach said that was not the main reason she made her decision, according to the World.
“The essential injustice invoked here is that no forensic evidence (other than a knife handle) has ever been preserved from which Clark could have attempted to prove his innocence,” Roach wrote, as the the newspaper reports.
The case file and evidence could not be found by the Boston Police Department, the World reported.
“It is unfortunate that this analysis was not fully developed and presented to a trial court sooner,” Roach wrote, according to the newspaper.
A GoFundMe was created to help Clark with daily expenses.
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