William Lee

In December, 2006, in Wayne County, Michigan, 17 year-old William Lee was arrested on suspicion of rape and felonious assault against his roommates, William Wells and Brandi Coleman. The alleged acts supposedly occurred on December 17, a few nights before the arrest.
 
At trial, Wells and Coleman each testified that on the night of the 17th, after an argument between Lee and Wells concerning Lee’s church attendance, Lee tied up Wells with a phone cord and forced Wells to watch as he raped Coleman. Lee claimed that while a scuffle had indeed erupted no rape had occurred, and that the precipitating argument was a result of Lee’s rejection of Wells’s sexual advances rather than Lee’s failure to attend church. On September 19, 2007, a Wayne County jury found Lee guilty of felonious assault and two counts of first degree rape, and the judge sentenced him to15 to 30 years in prison.
 
After trial, it was discovered that prosecutors had withheld critical exculpatory evidence from the defense.  The prosecution had claimed that there was insufficient biological material from the rape kit for DNA testing, but a lab report in the prosecutor’s possession indicated otherwise. Lee’s defense counsel obtained post-conviction DNA testing which revealed that the semen taken from Brandi Coleman came from William Wells, the supposed assault victim, and not from Lee. Judge Vonda Evans of the Wayne County Circuit Court granted Lee a retrial on June 22, 2010, and on November 30, 2010, a jury acquitted Lee of all charges relating to the December 17, 2006 events. As of December 2011, he remains incarcerated on unrelated robbery charges.
 
Charles Armbrust
 

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012

 

State:Michigan
County:Wayne
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Assault
Reported Crime Date:2006
Convicted:2007
Exonerated:2010
Sentence:15 to 30 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age:17
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes*