This week a Grafton Correctional inmate was expected to be released from prison after serving 13 years for a rape and robbery charge. Instead, the prosecution was granted another continuance for a hearing to introduce DNA evidence on behalf of Anthony Michael Green, so they can run their own tests. Despite this delay Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Calabrese has agreed to release him on bond next week so he will be able to attend his stepfather's retirement celebration. Green was convicted of rape and robbery in 1988 - since then he has been in prison serving a 50-year sentence for the crimes. But about a month ago, a DNA test was done that might prove he's the wrong man. 90.3 WCPN's Tarice Sims reports.
Tarice Sims- At around 10 pm on May 29, 1988 a West Virginia nurse and cancer patient heard a knock at the door of her Cleveland Clinic hotel room. Upon opening it a man grabbed her, threatened the woman with a knife, demanded money, then raped her. After the attack he cleaned himself off with a hotel washcloth took forty dollars and left. Later the nurse told the police her attacker was an African American male in his early twenties, standing about five foot eight inches tall and, weighing 165 pounds. She said he had brown eyes, a short black Afro, and pimples. Cleveland Clinic employees said the description sounded like a former colleague named Anthony Michael Green. Annie Mandell is his mother. She says her son didn't believe they had any evidence against him.
Annie Mandell- First of all it was a rumor going around and he heard about it. And, that's the first time I heard about it and he went to prove his innocence and they locked him up day one. That he had raped some white lady at Cleveland Clinic facility they locked him up it was hurting very hurting.
TS- Green was convicted in October of 1988 of rape and robbery based primarily on the testimony of the now deceased victim and a stain on the washcloth the assailant used. An examiner with the Cleveland Police Crime Lab testified that only 16% of the black population could have left the semen sample. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason says that was enough to lock Green up.
Bill Mason- The guy came to the police gave a statement, and had a pretty weak assessment of where he was that evening. First he said he wasn't there then he said “I don't know I drink a lot and I have black outs.” So he couldn't account for his time. She positively identified him as the person who attacked her. Now back then they didn't do DNA testing they just tested for blood type. The person whose blood type was the same kind of blood type that was on that towel and that's the best you can do then.
TS- Despite several dismissed petitions for a new trail and a few failed appeals Green has maintained his innocence. More than once he had a chance for parole but was denied after he refused to admit guilt and apologize for the crimes. Then in 1997 Green and his stepfather Robert Mandell contacted the Innocence Project at the Cordozo Law School in New York. Executive Director Barry Scheck was convinced to take on his case along with local attorneys William Summers and Elizabeth Kelly. Last month Kelly filed a petition for a new hearing.
Elizabeth Kelly- The testing conducted at the original trial was scientifically unsound the testimony of the serologist was scientifically unsound in addition there was we believe improperly conducted photo arrays which inspired an incorrect eye witness identification from the victim in this case. So, we believe that all those forces coming together wrongly convicted or wrongly resulted in Mr. Green's conviction.
TS- The Defense believed that DNA testing was the only way to prove Green's innocence. His stepfather Robert Mandell, who didn't even know the family until after the conviction, paid get the washcloth tested. Mandell spent $3,000 from his pension to hire Dr. Edward Blake and Criminalist Alan Keel of the Forensic Science Associates in California. They tested the evidence and found that the original test failed to take into account the female contribution to the stain. And, through a DNA profiler kit they were able to isolate the sperm and therefore determine the sample could only come from one person - not Anthony Michael Green. Prosecutors did not want to release Green based on this new defense evidence and for the last few weeks have conducted their own DNA tests on the washcloth. Prosecutor Mason says they'll do the right thing what ever that turns out to be.
BM- At this junction I need to find out what that right thing is. I need to find out how important first that towel was to this case and then secondly test it to see if whoever they had it tested with properly tested the DNA biological matter to come to the results that they've come to.
TS- Defense Attorney Barry Scheck says science has already proved Green innocent now he needs his freedom.
Barry Scheck- The faster they do replicate testing the faster Mr. Green in my judgment will be released. And they should move heaven and earth to get it done, because can you just imagine being in prison for a crime you didn't commit.
TS- According to state law, if Green is released he will be entitled to $25,000 for each year he was in prison. In addition, Mandell hasn't ruled out a civil lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment. Meanwhile, he says Green has been working towards a degree with Ashland College and does specialized work with the blind at Grafton Correctional facility. So, Mandell feels his stepson is ready to use those skills to find gainful employment and rejoin society. Later today Common Please Judge Anthony Calabrese will hold a hearing to determine if Green is indeed the wrong man. In Cleveland, Tarice Sims, 90.3 WCPN News.