“I am free at last. I am humbled. I never gave up.” – Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin served 26 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit before he was exonerated in July 2014.
Martin was arrested and charged with abducting, raping, and killing a young woman on Halloween night in 1982, after allegedly staging the rear-ending of her car in order to rob her. Mr. Martin proclaimed his innocence, but the prosecution was armed with seemingly irrefutable evidence: an FBI lab report claiming that a hair found on the victim’s show matched his pubic hair.
While this type of hair analysis was later debunked, Martin believed the evidence would lead to his conviction and cause him to die in prison. He entered an alford plea, a guilty plea where the defendant does not admit to committing the crime yet acknowledges that the evidence the prosecution has would likely persuade a jury to find him guilty.
Through the joint effort of MAIP, the United States Attorney’s Office, and Martin’s longtime attorney Mr. Grimm, DNA testing was performed on the rape kit collected from the victim. The testing proved what Mr. Martin had always maintained: he is an innocent man. It also proved who the real perpetrator was, solving the crime. On July 21, 2014 DC Superior Court Judge Richter signed a Certificate of Actual Innocence, vacating Mr. Martin’s conviction and clearing his name after 30 years.
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