Anthony Woods

Anthony Woods did not give up his fight to prove his innocence after he was granted parole. He had served 18 years of a 25 year sentence for rape, felonious restraint, and armed criminal action. In April 2005, DNA testing proved that Woods was not the perpetrator of these crimes.
 
The Crime
On the morning of October 10, 1983, at about 6:00AM, the 15-year-old victim left her home to meet a friend and walk to school. When the friend did not arrive at their meeting spot, the victim continued to another friend’s house. It was still dark outside and she observed a man standing across the street from her friend’s home. This man attacked her as she entered the back yard of the house, threatening her with a knife. He ordered her to walk to the back of the house, forced her to lay down, wrapped her jacket over her head, and raped her.
 
The Identification
The victim was shown hundreds of photographs while she was at the hospital. Although a photograph of Woods was among the ones shown to the victim, she did not identify him.
 
On the same day as the attack, the victim was sitting on her porch and saw Anthony Woods walk by. Woods lived less than two blocks from the victim. She informed her cousin, who was sitting with her, that Woods was the man who raped her. Woods was shortly apprehended by the victim’s relatives and neighbors and held until the police arrived. The victim made another identification of Woods while he was in jail.
 
Later, the prosecution alleged that the victim failed to identify Woods from the photographs because he had a different hairstyle and lighter skin tone in his photograph.
 
The Biological Evidence
Semen was identified on the victim’s underwear. Spermatozoa were observed on the vaginal smear.
 
Post-Conviction
In prison, Woods twice failed to complete the Missouri sex offender program because the program required him to accept responsibility for his crime. Woods was eventually paroled in May 2002, but still carried the stigma and restrictions of being a convicted sex offender. Six months after his release, Woods contacted his trial attorney, Christelle Adelman-Adler, and asked her to help him again.
 
DNA testing was eventually performed by Paternity Testing Company (PTC). Because the sample had been degraded, the laboratory decided to perform Y-STR DNA testing. PTC obtained a partial profile that excluded Woods as the contributor of the spermatozoa. Based on the results, Woods had his conviction vacated on April 21, 2005.
 
Woods would later receive $328,500 from the state for his wrongful conviction.
 
Summary courtesy of the Innocence Project, http://www.innocenceproject.org/. Reproduced with permission.

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State:Missouri
County:St. Louis City
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:Other Violent Felony
Reported Crime Date:1983
Convicted:1984
Exonerated:2005
Sentence:25 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age:20
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes