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Darryl Pinkins

Other Indiana Exonerations
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At about 1:30 a.m. on December 7, 1989, a 27-year-old woman driving home from a friend’s house was waiting at a red light in Hammond, Indiana, when her car was rear-ended by another vehicle. When she got out of her car to check the damage, a man she identified at trial as 37-year-old Darryl Pinkins grabbed her.

The woman originally told police she had been drinking that evening and could not make an identification. She said the driver of the car that gumped her car, a black man in his 20's about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches tall, got out of his car and walked over. He grabbed her arm with one hand and reach in with the other and grabbed her purse. Two other black men then approached and dragged her back to their car where she was shoved into the back seat. There were three men in the car and she was ordered not to look at anyone or she would be killed. The car then took off and two of theman took turns assaulting her in the back seat.

The woman said she was driven to Gary, Indiana and ultimately all five men raped her after covering her face with a green one-piece worker’s coverall. After two hours, the men ordered her to put her clothes back on and drove her back to her car where they released her, still wearing the coverall over her head.

Police examined the coverall and determined it had been issued by Luria Brothers Company, a scrap management firm for Bethlehem Steel Co. A Luria Brothers manager told police that three employees—Pinkins, William Durden and 27-year-old Roosevelt Glenn were each issued new pairs of green coveralls on December 11, 1989—four days after the assault. The manager reported that the men claimed the coveralls were stolen from Glenn's car.

Police believed the condition of the recovered coveralls was consistent with the job that Glenn performed for Luria Brothers. Police learned Durden, Glenn and Pinkins worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift on December 6, 1989. Four days later they asked for new coveralls, saying that Glenn’s car had been stolen and their coveralls were in the car, although records would later show that Glenn had not reported his car stolen.

Pinkins, Durden and Glenn told police that they left work in Durden’s car, but it broke down. An Indiana state trooper later confirmed that he saw Durden’s car on the side of the interstate and three men walking on an exit ramp who refused his offer of a ride.

Glenn told police he called his girlfriend at about 11:45 p.m. and she picked them up. After taking her home, they used her car to go to a Gary liquor store and cashed their checks. Pinkins told police that at about 12:30 a.m., they purchased two quarts of oil and returned to Durden’s car to find that the passenger window had been shattered and that all their work clothes, including their green coveralls, had been stolen.

The assault was one of a series of what police were calling “bump and rob” incidents in the Lake County area, although this was the first resulting in a rape. Police discovered that earlier on the same night of December 6-7, Jill Martin, a flight attendant driving from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to her parents’ home in Valparaiso was rear-ended at a stoplight near Merrillville, Indiana. Martin said that as three men approached, a truck stopped as well and all three men returned to their vehicle and drove away.

Using the description of the car from Martin and M.W., police decided that a full-sized 1973 Pontiac car was involved, and that only nine people owned such cars in Lake and nearby Porter counties at that time. None of the vehicles had been reported stolen and the only owner who drove to a steel mill was Gary Daniels. M.W. and Martin identified Daniels’ car as the one involved in both incidents, and police determined that Daniels worked for a contractor that provided cleaning services for Luria Brothers.

In January 1990, police charged five men in connection with the assault on M.W.—Pinkins, Glenn, Durden, Daniels, and another co-worker, Barry Jackson. After the charges were filed, DNA tests were performed by Cellmark Diagnostics on multiple stains containing biological material from M.W.’s sweater and jacket. Testing identified three separate DNA profiles, one of which belonged to M.W. However, all five defendants were excluded as possible contributors of the two other DNA profiles. The prosecution decided to proceed with the case by dismissing the charges against Daniels and Jackson and arguing the crimes were committed by Pinkins, Durden and Glenn and two unknown individuals. In the face of the DNA exclusions, the state offered evidence that they were included based on serological testing—a much less exacting identification process than DNA testing, even though DNA testing was still in its comparatively primitive stages. Years later, post-conviction testimony established that the serology evidence was overstated and irrelevant.

Durden went to trial in Lake County Circuit Court in February 1991. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and the judge declared a mistrial.

Pinkins went to trial in April 1991 on charges of rape, deviate sexual conduct and robbery. M.W. identified Pinkins as the first man to approach her and the fourth man to rape her. M.W. made her first identification of Pinkins on May 4, 1990, when she attended a pretrial hearing. She attended court at least 8 or 9 times after that and also was shown a photograph of Pinkis before she gave a pre-trial deposition.

A police crime lab analyst testified that serological analysis tied Pinkins and Glenn to the biological evidence. Further, a state crime lab analyst testified that a hair found on the victim's sweater was similar to the head hair of Glenn. Years later, during Glenn's initial post-conviction proceeding, mitochondrial testing excluded him as the source of the hair.

The prosecution also called Reginald West, who testified that he met Pinkins when he was in jail on drug charges and that Pinkins admitted to raping M.W. West testified that he had received leniency from the prosecution on his drug charges in exchange for his testimony.

Pinkins testified in his own behalf and denied involvement in the crime.

On May 3, 1991, the jury convicted Pinkins of rape, deviate sexual conduct and robbery. He was sentenced to 65 years in prison.

Glenn went to trial in February 1992 and a mistrial was declared after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Not long after, the prosecution dismissed the charges against Durden. Glenn went to trial again and on March 18, 1993, he was convicted of rape, but acquitted of robbery. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the criminal deviate sexual conduct charge. The evidence against him the faulty hair comparison and the overstated serology evidence relating to Durden and Pinkins. In addition, two jail inmates claimed that Glenn admitted to them that he committed the crime. Glenn was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

In 2000, the wrongful conviction clinic at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana law professor Frances Watson began re-investigating the cases of Glenn and Pinkins. DNA tests on the hair from M.W.’s sweater excluded Glenn as the source.

In 2006, Dr. Greg Hampikian, a DNA expert and director of the Idaho Innocence Project, testified in Glenn's post-conviction hearing that the serology evidence was highly prejudicial and overstated. Although Glenn's post-conviction motion was unsuccessful, Hampikian reached out to Dr. Mark Perlin, founder of Cybergenetics and TrueAllele computer technology for analyzing DNA mixtures.

In 2015, Dr. Perlin, who worked without charging a fee, identified two major and two minor genotypes in the biological evidence from the sweater and the jacket. None of the genotypes belonged to Glenn or Pinkins. Moreover, Dr. Perlin showed that these four unmixed genotypes differed from the previous post-conviction genotype. The analysis established the presence of five unknown genotypes and none of them were Pinkins or Glenn.

The results of the analysis were presented to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, and on April 22, 2016, the prosecution filed a motion to vacate Pinkins’ convictions and dismissed the charges. Pinkins was then released. His exoneration was the first in the nation based on a statistical analysis using TrueAlelle.

After 17 years in prison, Glenn had been released on parole on November 24, 2009. He also sought exoneration and on January 30, 2017, Lake County Circuit Court Judge T. Edward Page vacated Glenn’s conviction and at the request of the prosecution, the case was dismissed.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/28/2016
State:Indiana
County:Lake
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1989
Convicted:1991
Exonerated:2016
Sentence:65 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:37
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes*