Armand Villasana

Armand Villasana was convicted in 1999 of rape, stemming from a 1998 kidnapping and rape. The victim, who is white, identified Villasana, who is Latino, from a photo line up that contained pictures of five white men and one Latino - Villasana. The victim had previously described her assailant as Hispanic.
 
Though Villasana was never sentenced, he was convicted and spent close to two years in prison while his case played out. The original attorney on his case was never provided with the bench notes from the state crime laboratory examination. Villasana's subsequent attorney, M. Shawn Askinosie, filed a court order to obtain the bench notes, which revealed a positive acid phosphatase result, indicating that semen was present on an item of evidence. The defense then sent the evidence to an independent laboratory and paid for testing.
 
Three items of evidence were subjected to STR based DNA testing. The profiles obtained from this evidence excluded Villasana. This evidence was brought to his sentencing hearing, where he faced up to forty years for the rape conviction. The prosecution dropped the case and issued a statement that "the three pieces of DNA evidence, when taken together, make it impossible for the state to prove its case against Armand Villasana beyond a reasonable doubt." Villasana was freed in June 2000.
 
Summary courtesy of the Innocence Project, http://www.innocenceproject.org/. Reproduced with permission.

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012

 

State:Missouri
County:Greene
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Kidnapping
Reported Crime Date:1998
Convicted:1999
Exonerated:2000
Sentence:Not sentenced
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age:44
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes