Twenty-two-year-old Mark Reid was arrested On November 19, 1996 and charged with raping and threatening to kill a woman walking on Burnside Avenue in East Hartford, Connecticut.
The 30-year-old victim told police that on November 8 at about 1:30 a.m., a man asked her for a cigarette and then, armed with a knife, dragged her along a dirt path to a secluded area in a park where he forced her to engage in oral sex and then raped her while wearing a condom.
The victim told police her attacker was a light-skinned black man with freckles about the eyes and standing about 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Four days later, the victim identified Reid, who lived on Burnside Avenue, as her attacker although Reid bore no freckles and stood six feet tall.
Reid was convicted November 10, 1997 after the victim identified him and a state criminologist testified that microscopic analysis of three pubic hairs found on the victim’s clothing showed the hairs had characteristics similar to Reid’s hair.
Reid was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In May 2003, State Superior Court Judge John F. Mulcahy Jr. granted Reid a new trial after a mitochondrial DNA test indicated that the pubic hairs were not Reid’s.
The charges were dismissed on July 18 after the victim declined to participate in a second trial. Reid, who had other felony convictions, was deported to his native Jamaica.
In 2004, Reid filed a lawsuit seeking $2 million in damages from East Hartford.
– Maurice Possley