In May 2006, Billy Wayne Miller was released from prison after DNA testing proved he had been convicted in 1984 of a rape he didn’t commit. He was officially exonerated on December 20, 2006 when Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a pardon based on his innocence.
On the night of September 26, 1983, the victim left a friend’s house in Dallas County to walk to a bus stop. A man in a Chevy Impala or Chevy Caprice drove up to her and offered to drive her home. She gave the man directions to her house, but he pulled out a gun as he drove past the correct exit on the highway. He then pulled off into a vacant lot and raped the victim on the hood of his car. He raped her again in the backseat of the car, and a third time after he drove further down a dark road.
The man then drove her to a house where he unlocked the door and forced her inside. While in the car on the way, she committed two street names to memory. He then raped her again. She continued talking to him, agreeing not to tell the police and convincing him to drive her to a friend’s house. She was able to run inside the house before the perpetrator got to the door. The man stayed at the front door while the friend called the police, but ran away after the friend made noise.
The victim gave the police numbers from the attacker’s license plate. She then drove with the police to the house she remembered as the location of the attack. Police found a Chevy Impala parked in front of the house with a license plate only one digit different from the victim’s memory. The car was registered to Billy Wayne Miller’s father. When police knocked on the door of the house, a woman let them in. Miller was in the house and was arrested immediately.
The Biological Evidence
The victim was taken to the hospital where a doctor performed a rape examination. Samples collected from the victim’s body revealed the presence of spermatozoa.
At trial, the victim identified Miller as the man who attacked her. There were only two other prosecution witnesses—the physician who prepared the rape kit and the arresting officer who said he found clothes in Miller’s home that matched the description given by the victim. A jury convicted Miller in February 1984 and he was sentenced to life in prison.
In 2001, Miller attempted to secure post-conviction DNA testing, and eventually was granted testing in 2005. The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted DNA testing on a vaginal swab from the rape kit in 2006, determining that the DNA profile from the sperm fraction of the vaginal swab was not consistent with Miller. The victim was asked by the district attorney’s office if anyone other than her rapist could have been a source of the male DNA found on her vaginal swab, and she responded that only her rapist could be the source. Subsequently, Miller was released from prison. He had served 22 years for a rape he didn’t commit.
As of 2012, he had received $885,794 in state compensation.