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Anthony Dyer

Other Wayne County Exonerations
On February 18, 1991, a 17-year-old girl told police in Detroit, Michigan, that she was raped. She said that she was walking to school at about 9:15 a.m., when a man came running up toward her and pushed a hard object into her back. She said the man dragged her into an alley near the intersection of Plymouth Road and Wyoming Avenue and then raped her, warning her as she struggled, “Bitch stop screaming.”

According to a police report, the girl described her attacker as a “black male 29-30 years of age, 5’8’, 240 lbs., dark complexion, low cut hair, thin mustache, wide nose, pock marks on nose and cheeks, black/turquoise ¾ coat with hood trimmed in black fur. Possible hornets written on back. Dark work pants, and brown boots armed with gun.”

The girl was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where a rape kit was collected. As part of the investigation, the police created a lineup of five black men between the ages of 19 and 24 years old and of varying heights and weights. Four of them were dark-skinned. Using both visual and voice identification, the girl picked out Anthony Dyer, who was 24 years old, as her attacker.

Dyer denied any involvement. He said that he was at home at the time of the assault, waiting for his boss to bring him his paycheck.

He was arrested April 12, 1991 and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent to rob.

On April 29, 1991, Dyer pled guilty in Wayne County Circuit Court to first-degree criminal sexual assault. As part of the plea agreement, the other charge was dismissed. He was sentenced to 7½ years to 15 years in prison.

Dyer was initially released from prison on August 17, 1999, but later returned to prison for an additional two years because of parole violations related to his failure to register as a sex offender.

The rape kit from this case, like thousands of others, was never initially tested. It was in a warehouse managed by the Detroit Police Department. In 2009, the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy discovered this warehouse and began moving through the backlog of more than 11,000 kits.

The sample from Dyer’s case was tested and excluded him as a contributor to the sample. The genetic profile was then entered into the database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System, which said that the profile was consistent with a man named Shon Luther Matthews. In 2016, Matthews was charged and pled guilty to the sexual assault on the girl.

In 2017, prosecutors and Dyer’s attorney filed a joint motion to vacate his conviction and dismiss the charge. Judge Timothy Kenny granted the motion on July 26, 2017. Separately, Dyer was removed from Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry on August 10, 2017. He filed a claim for state compensation in 2020 and was awarded $491,932 in October 2020.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 2/25/2020
Last Updated: 1/6/2021
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1991
Sentence:7 1/2 to 15 years
Age at the date of reported crime:24
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes*