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DNA Test Clears Man After 27 Years


— December 11, 2007

John Jerome White

A man enjoyed freedom Tuesday after a DNA test proved he did not commit a 1979 rape. John Jerome White, 48, left Macon State Prison on Monday evening.

“I’m just thankful that this is behind me,” White said at a news conference Tuesday morning with the Georgia Innocence Project, which had worked to free him. “When I first started out, I wondered why this happened to me,” he said, breaking into tears. “I just saw it as something that had to happen because I wasn’t living a moral life.”

The investigation led to the arrest Tuesday of James Edward Parham, 54, of Manchester, who was on the state’s Sex Offender Registry for a 1985 rape conviction, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said. He was being held in the Meriwether County jail on charges of rape, aggravated assault, burglary and robbery.

A sheriff’s office employee declined to say whether Parham had an attorney, and there was no immediate response from the public defender’s office. There was no answer on a telephone listed at the address given for Parham in a GBI news release.

White is the seventh Georgia convict to be cleared by DNA evidence, said Aimee Maxwell, director of the Atlanta-based Georgia Innocence Project. In every case, the men were wrongly convicted on eyewitness accounts.

“This case does point out the fallibility of eyewitness identification,” Maxwell said.

Detail here from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.


John Jerome White

A man enjoyed freedom Tuesday after a DNA test proved he did not commit a 1979 rape. John Jerome White, 48, left Macon State Prison on Monday evening.

“I’m just thankful that this is behind me,” White said at a news conference Tuesday morning with the Georgia Innocence Project, which had worked to free him. “When I first started out, I wondered why this happened to me,” he said, breaking into tears. “I just saw it as something that had to happen because I wasn’t living a moral life.”

The investigation led to the arrest Tuesday of James Edward Parham, 54, of Manchester, who was on the state’s Sex Offender Registry for a 1985 rape conviction, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said. He was being held in the Meriwether County jail on charges of rape, aggravated assault, burglary and robbery.

A sheriff’s office employee declined to say whether Parham had an attorney, and there was no immediate response from the public defender’s office. There was no answer on a telephone listed at the address given for Parham in a GBI news release.

White is the seventh Georgia convict to be cleared by DNA evidence, said Aimee Maxwell, director of the Atlanta-based Georgia Innocence Project. In every case, the men were wrongly convicted on eyewitness accounts.

“This case does point out the fallibility of eyewitness identification,” Maxwell said.

Detail here from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.

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