In 1990, a 12-year-old girl in Akron, Ohio reported that she had been raped. She provided a description of her attacker and, when shown a group of photos by the police, identified Jimmy Williams as her rapist.
At trial, the victim identified Williams again, and a polygraph expert testified that Williams had failed a polygraph and lied when he said he didn’t rape the victim. Although doctors examined the girl after the rape, no forensic evidence was recovered.
A jury convicted Williams of rape in 1991, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
In 2001, after Williams’s new lawyer met with the victim’s father, the victim recanted her identification, saying that she had never seen the rapist’s face and that she picked Williams out of the photos because he was the only skinny dark-skinned man among them.
Following an evidentiary hearing in February 2001, the trial court overturned Williams’s conviction.
Williams later was awarded $750,000 in compensation by the state of Ohio for his wrongful imprisonment.
- Stephanie Denzel