In September 1987, a Columbus, Ohio woman was kidnapped by a man who drove her to a nearby school and raped her. The woman provided the police with a description of the attacker and his car immediately after the attack. Four months later, the woman believed she saw her attacker at a convenience store and gave police the license plate number of the car he was driving. The car was traced to Sean Ennis. Though Ennis was taller and heavier than the man the victim described as her rapist, the victim identified Ennis in court. In July 1990, following a bench trial, Ennis was convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 5-to-25-years.
Following his conviction, Ennis discovered that the man who gave the woman a ride to the police station shortly after the attack told the police that the attack had occurred earlier than the victim stated, at a time for which Ennis had an alibi. Ennis also discovered that the prosecution failed to turn over the names of two other suspects in the attack. In May 1994, a state appellate court granted Ennis a new trial on the basis of the prosecution’s failure to turn over exculpatory evidence, and in September 1994, charges against Ennis were dismissed.
- Stephanie Denzel