Jerry Jenkins was exonerated on June 7th, 2013, after being wrongfully convicted of first-degree rape and sexual assault charges. DNA testing proved Jenkins was innocent and that another man – a serial rapist in Virginia and Maryland who also committed the crime for which MAIP client Michael McAlister was convicted – was the real perpetrator.
In 1986, a young real estate agent was closing up a model home when a man she thought was a builder entered the home, raped her, robbed her, and left the scene. A similar crime had been committed nearby a year earlier, so detectives looked for a serial rapist but were unable to produce suspects.
Jenkins was convicted of the rape after being interviewed in connection with an unrelated arrest, even though the victim testified that although he looked like her attacker, she could not be positive. Jenkins had also been excluded as the perpetrator of the earlier, similar arrest, which both Charles County police and the FBI believed had been committed by the same person.
Jenkins maintained his innocence, but DNA testing at the time was too primitive to obtain a result. Then, in 2006, he learned that a notorious serial rapist who was incarcerated in Virginia had been convicted of the 1984 rape based on a DNA cold hit. He wrote to MAIP, who teamed up with Jim Bensfield and Jonathan Kossak of Miller & Chevalier to litigate the case.
Before filing a non-DNA innocence claim, MAIP and Miller & Chevalier were able to find a box of physical evidence. Technicians at Bode Technologies obtained a full DNA profile on semen that remained on the hair, and subsequent testing confirmed that the semen belonged to the man he had believed to be the perpetrator.
Mr. Jenkins was no longer incarcerated, but he’s thrilled to be off the sex offender registry and have the stigma of rape removed from his record.
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