Michael Green was convicted of rape in 1983 and sentenced to 75 years in prison. But last Wednesday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas announced that new DNA testing proved that Green was not involved in the assault.
Green said he can’t help but be angry about the time that he lost. The process Green faces after being in prison for 27 years was a concern expressed by both his family and his attorney, Bob Wicoff. Wicoff said that the Innocence Project of Texas has personnel that will try to help his client with that.
The assault that sent Green to prison occurred in north Houston when four men abducted a woman from a pay telephone and took her to a remote location, where three of them sexually assaulted her. The men drove off and were chased by police, but they managed to bail out and flee on foot. Green was detained by officers that night as he walked in the area. The victim couldn’t identify Green in person when he was first detained, but later picked him from a photo lineup as one of her three attackers. He was the only person convicted in the case.
DNA of the victim’s jeans in 2009 showed that Green was innocent, prosecutors said. The jeans sat untouched in an evidence locker for 27 years. “The tragedy in the Green case is not only was an innocent man in prison, but the victim was denied justice, society was denied justice and the perpetrators were free to commit more crimes, which they did,” Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos said Friday. Lykos said that members of the Post-Conviction Review Section have identified all four of the men involved in the assault. She said they’ve all been in prison, and one of them is still behind bars. They cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.
A judge ordered that Green be released on $500 bond Friday morning. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will make a final ruling on his innocence. Green is believed to have served the longest time behind bars of any Texas inmate before potential exoneration, according to the district attorney’s office. He could receive more than $2 million in compensation from the state, $80,000 for each year he spent behind bars. Read more here.