Circumstantial Evidence: U.S. Army Sergeant Wrongfully Convicted Of 3 Rapes

    • Season 2
  • 54:40
  • 13 March, 2017

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On November 16, 1983, a 28-year-old woman was attacked and sexually assaulted by an unknown male as she was walking home from work in Lowell, MA. The following evening, a 23-year-old woman was attacked less than one hundred yards away from the site of the first assault. Even though no biological evidence could link him to any of the crimes, Dennis Maher, who was a sergeant in the United States Army at the time, was arrested and charged with both attacks, in addition to an unsolved rape from the previous summer. He was convicted based on eyewitness misidentifications made by the victims, all of whom identified him in photographic lineups. In 2001, evidence from the assaults was recovered and subjected to DNA testing, yielding a genetic profile that excluded Mr. Maher as a suspect. In 2003, results from DNA testing of evidence from the rape victim also excluded Mr. Maher as a suspect, and he was exonerated after spending 19 years fighting to prove his innocence from behind bars. Mr. Maher is joined by attorney Alex Spiro and New England Innocence Project Director of Communications Hannah Riley.

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