Donald Wayne Good served 9 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. DNA testing in 2004 proved that he could not have been the man that committed a 1983 rape and burglary in Dallas County, Texas.
On June 9, 1983, the victim was working in the yard of her Dallas County, Texas, home while her 8-year-old daughter played in the living room of their home. An intruder entered the house through the garage door, held a knife to the girl’s throat, and ordered the victim to come inside. The assailant tied the hands of both mother and daughter and locked the doors to the home. He then hogtied the girl and left her on the living room floor. He placed a pillow case over the mother’s head. He then took her into the bedroom, raped her vaginally and anally, and forced her to perform oral sex. Before leaving, the assailant hogtied the victim next to her daughter and stole money from her purse.
The victim was taken to a hospital for a rape examination and her clothing and bedspread were collected as evidence.
Good was arrested on unrelated charges. While in custody, a police officer came to believe that Good resembled the composite sketch of the assailant and Good’s photograph was placed in a photographic lineup. Both the victim and her daughter identified Good as the man who broke into their home. The victim was certain of her identification.
Good was tried three times, charged with rape, burglary of a habitation with intent to commit theft, and sexual abuse. The first trial ended in a hung jury. In 1984, Good was tried again, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Following Good’s conviction, an inmate named Daniel Clark wrote a successful appeal for Good. A third trial was granted. At this trial, Good represented himself but repeatedly asked for Clark to be allowed to assist him. The court gagged and handcuffed Good after repeated disruptions in the courtroom. In 1987, Good was convicted again and sentenced to life.
The evidence presented at Good’s trials included the eyewitness testimony from the victim and her daughter. The rape kit was examined by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS). The laboratory found spermatozoa in the rape kit, on the victim’s jumpsuit, and on a blanket. An analyst testified that blood group markers on the blanket must have come from a Type O secretor, which matched Good’s blood type and “one-third of the Caucasian male population.” This testimony was improper because the evidence on the blanket could have been a mixture of fluids from the victim and the perpetrator, and no one should have been excluded. Different blood group markers were found on the rape kit swabs, and the analust said it was impossible to put a percentage on the possible perpetrators because the sample could have been a mixture. This, too, was incorrect, because 100% of males could have contributed the sample if it was “masked” by the victim’s fluids.
Good was paroled in 1993 and supervised as a registered sex offender. In 2002, he was arrested for a minor property crime and had his parole revoked. His life sentence was reinstated. He pled to the property crime and received a five year sentence.
In January of 2002, Good filed a handwritten motion requesting DNA testing of the evidence in the rape case. The Dallas Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Good on this motion. In March 2003, the Public Defender’s Office submitted their motion and the prosecution did not oppose. In August 2003, the court ordered testing of the vaginal swabs from the rape kit.
The evidence was sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety laboratory in Garland, Texas, along with reference samples from Good, the victim, and the victim’s husband. In April 2004, test results excluded Good as a contributor to the spermatozoa on the vaginal swab. The victim’s husband was also excluded. The non-sperm fraction matched the victim’s profile, verifying that the samples tested came from the victim. In an April 2004 report, the court officially found the results favorable to the defendant, Donald Wayne Good.
Good retained the services of Modjarrad & Abusaad, PC, to file a habeas corpus petition, with support from the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. On November 17, 2004, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the conviction for which Good was serving life. A month later, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and District Criminal Court 3 dropped the indictment against Good, who remained in prison for the minor property crime charge. He was released in April 2007.