DNA Evidence Clears Man of Wrongful Conviction After Nearly 50 Years

In a remarkable turn of events, Leonard Mack, a 72-year-old man from the United States, has been exonerated after serving seven and a half years in prison for a rape he did not commit. The case dates back to 1975 when Mack was arrested in Greenburgh, New York, following the rape of a teenage girl who was walking home from school with a friend. Mack, who is African American, was identified as a suspect during a search for a Black individual in the mostly white neighborhood.

The breakthrough in this decades-old case came thanks to the tireless efforts of the Innocence Project, which advocated for Mack’s innocence. New DNA evidence, unavailable at the time of his trial, “conclusively excluded” Mack as the perpetrator and identified a convicted sex offender who has now confessed to the crime. This marks the longest wrongful conviction in U.S. history known to the Innocence Project to be overturned by DNA evidence, highlighting Mack’s unwavering determination to clear his name over almost half a century. Researchers have long emphasized the systemic issue of wrongful convictions disproportionately affecting Black individuals, further underscoring the importance of this exoneration in the fight for justice.

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