Hubert Thompson

On September 23, 1994, a Hartford, Connecticut woman who was addicted to drugs drove to South Marshall Street, where she had purchased drugs in the past. When she pulled up to a stop sign, a man who had sold her drugs a week earlier—for which she had not yet paid—got into the passenger seat. The woman told him that she had the money, but the man refused to accept it and slapped her.

The man then took the keys from the ignition and ordered the woman out of the car. The woman got out and tried to escape, but the man caught her and dragged her to the side of a nearby building. He ordered her to take off her clothes and she did, but only after he punched her several times in the face. The man then sexually assaulted her.

After the assault, the man led the victim back to her car, forced her into the passenger seat and drove off. When the car stopped at a traffic signal about a block from where the woman lived, the woman jumped out and ran to her apartment complex, screaming for help.

She was taken to a hospital where she underwent an examination.

The woman’s car was found three days later. Six months later an arrest warrant was issued for 27-year old Hubert Thompson of Hartford, after the woman told a friend about the attack and described her attacker. The friend suggested the nickname of someone who fit the description. Police linked the nickname to Thompson and placed his photograph in a lineup. The victim selected Thompson.

Thompson was arrested in 1995. In 1997, while Thompson was awaiting trial, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on an unrelated crime - two counts of illegal possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced in February 1998 to 10 years in prison. In October, 1998, he went on trial on the kidnapping and rape case in Hartford County Superior Court, electing to have the case heard by a judge and not a jury.

The victim identified him as her attacker. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime. There was biological evidence collected from the victim, but the state did not have the technology to conduct DNA testing.

Thompson was convicted of kidnapping in the first degree, sexual assault in the first degree and attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Thompson served his federal prison term and was released from federal custody in December 2007 and sent to a Connecticut state prison to begin serving his 12-year term for the kidnapping and sexual assault conviction.
 
After he was returned to Connecticut state custody, Thompson appealed his convictions for kidnapping and sexual assault. He argued that he received inadequate legal assistance because at the time of the trial, his lawyer, M. Donald Cardwell, was too preoccupied to provide an adequate defense. Cardwell had recently pleaded guilty to federal money-laundering charges and was awaiting sentencing. Thompson also argued on appeal that his conviction for kidnapping should be set aside due to a change in the law. In 2009, the kidnapping conviction was set aside, but his remaining two convictions were upheld.

In 2011, Thompson filed a petition for DNA testing and the Connecticut State Police laboratory located the biological evidence from the case. Tests eliminated Thompson as the perpetrator and identified another man who lived near the victim at the time of the attack.

On March 12, 2012, prosecutors and the attorney for Thompson jointly petitioned for a new trial. The petition was granted and Thompson was released. On July 19, 2012, the charges were dismissed.
 
The DNA profile was submitted to the FBI's DNA database and was matched to a convicted felon. In the spring of 2013, police were still investigating that suspect.
 

– Maurice Possley

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State:Connecticut
County:Hartford
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Kidnapping, Attempt, Violent
Reported Crime Date:1994
Convicted:1998
Exonerated:2012
Sentence:12 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age:27
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes