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Louisiana Man Freed After 17 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

July 2, 2014
Photo: Nathan Brown (white shirt) with exoneree Michael Williams (black hat) and his legal team. - Innocence Project

Photo: Nathan Brown (white shirt) with exoneree Michael Williams (black hat) and his legal team. – Innocence Project

Source Innocent Project

Nathan Brown walked out of a Louisiana state prison a free man last week after a Jefferson Parish judge overturned his conviction for attempted rape and the District Attorney agreed that he was factually innocent. DNA testing of crime scene evidence proved that he is innocent and matched to an alternative suspect, a man who is currently serving a sentence for a felony in Mississippi and who, at the time, lived only a few blocks away from the crime scene.

In August 1997, a woman was attacked from behind in the courtyard of her apartment building. The perpetrator bit the victim’s neck, ripped off her dress and took her purse before she was able to fend him off, at which point he fled, leaving the complex on a bike. The victim told police, who had been summoned by neighbors that heard the victim’s screams, that she had been attacked by a black man who was wearing black shorts and no shirt.

Police knocked on Nate’s door just minutes after the crime. He was in his bedroom wearing pajamas, rocking his young daughter to sleep. The officers had him change into black shorts and remove his shirt and then conducted what is called a one-on-one “show-up,” a highly-suggestive identification procedure in which a single suspect is presented to the eyewitness at either the site of the arrest or near the site of the crime. The victim identified Nate as the man who attacked her.

Nate’s mother retained a private attorney to represent him who provided a less than effective defense and didn’t even meet with Nate until the day his trial was set to start. Despite having four alibi witnesses who placed him at home with his daughter when the crime was occurring, Nate was convicted based on the victim’s identification and sentenced to 25 years for the crime.

Nate, who has always maintained his innocence, contacted the Innocence Project, which, with the cooperation of the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office, conducted DNA testing of the victim’s dress. Male DNA found in four different locations on the dress excluded Nate and matched to another man, currently in prison in Mississippi on a felony conviction but who lived just blocks away from the victim’s apartment complex at the time.

By the time of his exoneration last week, Nate had served nearly 17 years for a crime that he did not commit. Read more.

at last an independence day.
and for you, mr brown
hip hippest hooray.
enjoy a great life
as it should be
in freedom and
with friends
and family!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

13 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    July 2, 2014 9:45 am

    at last an independence day.
    and for you, mr brown
    hip hippest hooray.
    enjoy a great life
    as it should be
    in freedom and
    with friends
    and family!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. July 2, 2014 1:03 pm

    such injustice is so sad!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. July 9, 2014 1:27 pm

    That is shocking and so sad for the family. It’s good that he has been exonerated but the whole family has lost so much that it is hard to be happy about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 9, 2014 2:02 pm

      I agree. That is why I am a dedicated supporter of Innocence Project – they work to exonerate innocent people. What is really sad, too, is that unless there is DNA evidence contradicting the original ruling, innocent people could spend their entire lives behind bars – such a travesty for all, and to think, that means a guilty person is still walking the streets – still committing crimes. Thanks, Sarah.


      • July 9, 2014 2:04 pm

        I’ve never heard of the Innocence Project before. Thanks for educating me, as always. 🙂


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