Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Anthony Powell

First Name Anthony
Last NamePowell
Year of Conviction1992
Year of Exoneration2004
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionMassachusetts
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s mother and two friends testified in support of the alibi.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

Defendant described his whereabouts the evening of the crime and denied ever knowing or assaulting the victim.

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Error
  • Vague
  • Valid
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Analyst concluded that one hair was “dissimilar” to victim and defendant, but revised conclusion that a second also excluded defendant, testifying that this conclusion was altered after examining additional exemplar hairs and found to be “similar” to the victim; analyst admitted that exemplars examined were not adequate. Later analysis found that not only where exemplars not adequate, but DNA testing could and should have been conducted on the questioned hairs.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive remarks ● Victim not told attacker might not be in line-up ● Suggestive line-up

Quotes from testimony #1

Victim testified that the detective "told me that I had picked the one he arrested,” and “He said that I picked out the right one." Police officer present at identification procedure testified that victim was upset after identification, and that detective “said, don’t worry. You chose the correct person." Victim testified – "He just said to look through the pictures; and, when I see the person, take it to the side and put it on the table and keep looking through the pictures." Victim testified that only one or two in the ten photo lineup had a round face like Powell, and that she told the detective she knew at least one or two in the lineup.

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancies in description of attacker, including hair and facial hair

Quotes from testimony #2

Powell had a mustache and short but even hair. The victim described to police an attacker with no facial hair, and a “high top” haircut, though at trial said it was a low top haircut. Victim had described letters cut into the back of the attacker’s hair, but at probable cause hearing admitted “there’s no letters now.”

Highest level reachedNR