On October 2, 1977, a woman was awakened by two men, one armed with a knife, in her apartment in Memphis, Tennessee. Both men raped her and left with her television set.
She identified the two as "Polly's boy" and "Ollie Mae's boy" and provided a first name of one and the address of the other. Police first went to the home of 22-year-old Lawrence McKinney, but he was not home. They then went to home of Michael Yancy, where they found McKinney lying on a couch and Yancy hiding in a closet.
Both men denied being involved in the crime. Yancy said he was hiding because he thought police were there for something else. McKinney said they had spent the night of the crime drinking and watching television and did not leave Yancy's apartment.
On October 7, 1977, both men were charged with assault and burglary.
McKinney and Yancy went on trial in Shelby County Criminal Court in July 1978. The victim—whose identity was not made public—identified them in court as her attackers. They were convicted on July 22, 1978 and were sentenced to 100 years each in prison for rape and 10 years in prison for burglary.
In 2008, McKinney requested that DNA testing be conducted.
In January 2009, tests of biological stains from the victim’s bed linen revealed a mixture of stains from three people—none of whom was McKinney. The tests identified the DNA profiles of Yancy and the victim's boyfriend, who was not involved in the attack, and an unknown male.
On July 17, 2009, McKinney's conviction was vacated and the charges were dismissed. He was released on July 20, 2009.
In 2010, McKinney sought an official declaration of exoneration--a precursor to compensation of up to $1 million--but the Tennessee Board of Parole recommended against exoneration.
– Maurice Possley