On November 3, 2007, a robber armed with a pistol stole a truck at gunpoint from a man outside his mother’s home in Hapeville, Georgia.
Police officers pursued the truck and gave chase, but the suspect bailed out of the vehicle and escaped on foot, leaving behind a cell phone, a cell phone case and a shirt.
The owner of the truck refused to give police any information, but another witness, who only saw the robber from behind, helped police create a composite sketch. Ten days later, 41-year-old Michael Marshall, who was homeless, was arrested in an apartment hallway where he was sleeping and the second witness was brought to the scene where he identified Marshall as the robber.
Marshall was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. After a judge refused to suppress the identification, Marshall, facing up to 25 years in prison, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.
In June 2008, Marshall sought help from the Georgia Innocence Project, which obtained an order for DNA testing of the cell phone, cell phone case and the shirt. The testing excluded Marshall and isolated the DNA of another man.
On December 14, 2009, Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford, ordered Marshall’s release and the charged were dismissed.
– Maurice Possley