Tuesday, March 21, 2006
From the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (more at TalkLeft):
A man who spent 18 years behind bars for allegedly breaking into a woman's house and attacking her was released after modern DNA testing excluded him as a suspect.
Gregory Wallis was a 29-year-old Dallas County warehouse worker when he was convicted in 1988 of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Wallis maintained his innocence, but the case remained closed until his 2004 request for post-conviction DNA analysis led to tests that separated him from the crime scene.
"I don't know how to apologize. I don't know where to start, but I'll start with me and 'I'm sorry,'" District Judge John Creuzot said Monday as he released Wallis, now 47, on a personal recognizance bond.
Creuzot was not involved in the 1988 trial.
Wallis' attorneys said they will not pursue a legal process to have him officially declared innocent and pardoned.
The victim of the attack picked Wallis' photo out of a lineup after police received an anonymous tip that he was involved. The attacker had spent several hours in the house, and the victim described the rapist as having a tattoo similar to one Wallis had.
"I don't know how she picked me," said Wallis, who had previous robbery convictions at the time. "I was sitting at home, and they came and arrested me. The next thing I know, I'm standing trial."