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Kenneth Wyniemko

Other Michigan DNA Cases
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On April 30, 1994, a man with a nylon stocking covering his head broke into the home of a 28-year-old woman in Clinton, Michigan while she was sleeping. The man forced her to turn face down, handcuffed her hands behind her back and blindfolded her with her underwear.

The man raped the woman several times in different rooms of the house. When the victim complained that she could no longer feel her hands, the attacker removed the handcuffs and tied her hands in front of her with her nylons. He ejaculated in her mouth and made her swallow the semen.

Before leaving, he made her drink soda to wash the semen down and put her underwear in her mouth to wipe out any remaining semen. He took the phone off the hook, wiped down the soda can, and left.

The woman told investigators that she managed to get a few glimpses of the attacker. She described him as a white male between 6’ and 6’2” tall, weighing around 200-225 pounds, and about 20-25 years old. She helped police create a composite sketch. Since her views of the attacker were limited, she would later say that the composite sketch was only 60 percent accurate.

On July 14, 1994, Kenneth Wyniemko was being held on unrelated misdemeanor charge when police decided he resembled the composite sketch. Wyniemko was placed in a lineup and the victim identified him as the perpetrator. At the time, Wyniemko was older, shorter and lighter than the original description, weighing 198 pounds and standing 5’11” tall. He had just turned 43 years old.

Semen was identified on the crotch area of the victim’s underwear, but was never analyzed. Semen found on bed sheets was submitted for serological testing, which identified antigens consistent with type A blood. Both Wyniemko and the victim were type O. The victim’s husband, however, was type A. The prosecution concluded that the semen could have come from the victim’s husband.

Wyniemko went to trial in Macomb County Circuit Court in November 1994. The victim said she had only gotten a glimpse of her attacker. However, the composite sketch was admitted into evidence as well.

Glen McCormick testified that he was confined to a jail cell with Wyniemko prior to trial and that Wyniemko admitted to involvement in the crime and claimed that he had gotten rid of all of the biological evidence. He admitted that he was facing a life prison sentence as a habitual offender and was offered a sentence of less than a year in prison in return for his testimony.

On November 9, 1994, the jury convicted Wyniemko of criminal sexual conduct, breaking and entering, and armed robbery. He was sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison.

The Cooley Innocence Project at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan, took Wyniemko’s case. Working with pro bono counsel Gail Pamukov, the Cooley project was able to gain access to the evidence for DNA testing.

In June 2003, the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division tested numerous items collected from the victim and the scene of the crime. DNA tests showed that the semen on the bedding did, indeed, come from the victim’s husband. The spermatozoa found on the victim’s underwear, however, proved to be a mixed sample that included the victim’s husband and an unknown male profile. Wyniemko was excluded.

Based on these results, Wyniemko’s conviction was overturned on June 17, 2003, the case was dismissed and he was released.

Subsequently, McCormick recanted his trial testimony. In a sworn affidavit, McCormick said that after he was released on bond from the jail, Macomb County assistant prosecutor Linda Davis and Clinton Township police officer Thomas Ostin arranged for him to meet them at the police department.

McCormick said they told him that if he were able to provide incriminating testimony against Wyniemko, they would help him avoid a possible life sentence. He said Ostin put a copy of the police report in Wyniemko’s case and he was left alone.

“I assumed I was supposed to read the police report,” McCormick said in the affidavit. “By reading the police report, I learned details about the crime.”

McCormick said he used the details to provide authenticity to his testimony that Wyniemko had admitted to the crime when they were jailed together.

He said Ostin and Davis later returned to the room and they tape-recorded an interview with him, stopping the recorder repeatedly to advise him what to say. “One of the statements that was suggested to me was that I say that Wyniemko told me ‘they ain’t got shit against me’ or words like that. It was also suggested to me that I say Mr. Wyniemko had told me that he had gotten rid of the evidence. Mr. Wyniemko had not told me those things.”

Wyniemko later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that was settled for $3.7 million--a $1.8 million lump sum payment and $6,409 per month for the rest of his life and at a minimum for 20 years.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 4/27/2018
State:Michigan
County:Macomb
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Robbery, Burglary/Unlawful Entry
Reported Crime Date:1994
Convicted:1994
Exonerated:2003
Sentence:40 to 60 years
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:42
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes