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Donya Davis

Other Michigan Cases with Perjury or False Accusations
At 5 a.m. on April 1, 2006, a 23-year-old black woman was confronted by a black man as she was moving boxes from her fire-damaged apartment.

The man ordered her into the apartment at gunpoint after demanding her vehicle, her purse and her money. The woman gave the gunman her keys, but said she had no money. The man spoke to someone else who was outside and then led her into the kitchen where he raped her. He then wiped her off with water and locked her in a basement pantry. After the victim heard her attacker leave, she broke out of the pantry and called police. The victim said her attacker was 5 feet 9 or 10 inches tall, had a dark complexion and an Afro hair style. She could not recall if he had facial hair.

Six days later, a woman called police and implicated 28-year-old Donya Davis in the crime. Police put his photograph into a lineup and the victim identified him as her attacker, even though Davis was 6 feet 1 inch tall, had a medium complexion, close-cropped hair and a thin mustache.

DNA tests were performed on a rape kit that was obtained from the victim the day of the crime. The testing was presumptive for the presence of semen, but no sperm was identified. DNA tests on skin cells from the victim's thighs developed a partial male profile that excluded Davis.

Davis was charged with sexual assault and went to trial in March 2007. The victim identified him as the rapist. Davis presented witnesses who testified that he was at home sleeping at the time of the crime.

A mistrial was declared when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Davis went to trial a second time in October 2007 before a judge who heard the case without a jury. On October 11, 2007, the judge convicted Davis of rape, armed robbery, carjacking and use of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

In March 2013, a petition for DNA testing was filed on Davis’s behalf by the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project. The motion was granted and for the first time sperm as identified. DNA testing isolated the partial profile of an unidentified male who was not Davis. No biological material from Davis was found.

On June 20, 2014, a defense motion for a new trial was granted without opposition by the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office and Davis was released from prison.

On November 6, 2014, the prosecution dismissed the charges.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/11/2014
State:Michigan
County:Wayne
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Robbery, Other Violent Felony, Illegal Use of a Weapon
Reported Crime Date:2006
Convicted:2007
Exonerated:2014
Sentence:22 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:28
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes