Biological evidence stored for two decades in a hospital drawer was the key to the 2007 exoneration of Anthony Capozzi, a Buffalo, New York, man who spent 20 years in prison for two rapes he didn't commit.
DNA tests in March 2007 showed that another man, Altemio Sanchez, actually committed the attacks for which Capozzi was convicted. Sanchez was convicted in 2007 of three other murders and is currently serving life in prison.
Capozzi was charged with three similar rapes and went to trial in 1987. The rape victims told police their attacker was about 160 pounds – Capozzi weighed 200 to 220 pounds. None of the victims mentioned a prominent three-inch scar on Capozzi’s face. All three victims identified Capozzi in court as the attacker. He was convicted by a jury of two rapes and acquitted of the third. He was sentenced to 35 years.
Biological evidence was collected from two victims in 1985 and stored in a hospital drawer. When the evidence was tested in 2007 at the request of Capozzi and his attorney, sperm collected during the rape examinations of both victims matched the profile of Sanchez – and proved that Capozzi could not be the rapist.
Capozzi was exonerated and released from state custody in April 2007.
In 2010, Capozzi received $4.25 million in compensation from the State of New York.