Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz was charged with and convicted of rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree for engaging in deviate sexual intercourse in the form of anal intercourse, and sodomy in the first degree for engaging in deviate sexual intercourse in the form of oral intercourse. He was tried by a jury and convicted on January 17, 1984, of the 1983 rape and related charges. On February 15, 1984, Ortiz was sentenced to concurrent terms of twelve and one half to twenty-five years imprisonment on each of the three counts.
 
On January 8, 1983, the seventeen year old victim was abducted at gun point from a street corner outside of her boyfriend's house in Newburgh, New York. Her attacker then took her to the woods, where he walked with her for a lengthy period of time before raping her. Her clothes were taken off, including her underwear, and the perpetrator raped her vaginally, anally, and orally. Afterward, she put her clothes back on, including her underwear.
 
The victim ran to her boyfriend's home, where she spent the night. She went to the hospital later that day and did not shower, change clothes, or go to the bathroom before she was examined by the doctor. Her clothing was collected as evidence
 
The examining physician collected a milky white substance from the victim's vagina. Wet slides revealed the presence of non-motile sperm. He took rectal smears but did not detect sperm, although an examination of fixed rectal slides later showed several sperm heads.
 
The victim's boyfriend testified that he did not have sex with the victim on the night of the incident or at any other time. He remembers the victim came into his house, woke him up, said she had been raped. He confirmed that she stayed in his room until the incident was reported the next day.
 
Ortiz contacted the Innocence Project in 1994, claiming innocence. The case was accepted and assigned to a student. The Project confirmed in 1995 that the rape kit and other evidence from the case still existed. The Orange County District Attorney's stipulated to the release of the physical evidence used at trial. The evidence was sent to Forensic Science Associates along with a sample of Ortiz's blood.
 
DNA testing excluded Victor Ortiz as the source of spermatozoa on the evidence. He was exonerated and released in October 1996, having served ten years in prison.
 
Summary courtesy of the Innocence Project, http://www.innocenceproject.org/. Reproduced with permission.

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012

 

State:New York
County:Orange
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Sexual Assault
Reported Crime Date:1983
Convicted:1984
Exonerated:1996
Sentence:12 1/2 to 25 years
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age:24
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes