In June 1990, three men broke into the home of an alleged drug dealer in Houston, Texas, searching for money and drugs. The men terrorized the four occupants and repeatedly raped the two women. Jimmy Hatton was arrested and tried for the crime.
During Hatton’s trial, one of the victims identified his uncle, Allen Porter, who was attending the trial with his family, as another one of the attackers. As a result, Porter was charged with taking part in the crime. At his trial, Porter maintained his innocence, but a jury convicted him of the robbery and rapes and he was sentenced to life in prison.
In 2003, Porter wrote a letter to Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos and prosecutors began to investigate the case. Porter obtained DNA testing from a rape kit, which failed to link him to rape-scene evidence. However, in a hearing before District Judge Joan Campbell, a lab technician testified that absence of DNA evidence linking him to the crime did not prove his innocence. Campbell ruled against him.
By 2009, however, Porter’s attorneys had assembled enough evidence to convince the Harris County District Attorney's Post Conviction Review Unit to take another look at the case. When questioned, Hatton told prosecutors that Porter was not involved in the crimes, as did Hatton’s former wife, who had driven them to the southwest Houston residence. They also identified the third assailant, whose fingerprints matched several previously unidentified prints found at the scene.
In July 2010, Porter was released on bail after a district court judge recommended that his conviction be vacated. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated Porter’s conviction in December 2010, and the prosecution dismissed the charges. The third assailant was not charged because the statute of limitations on the crimes had expired.
As of 2012, Porter had received $619,377 in state compensation.
- Stephanie Denzel