Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Charles Chatman

First NameCharles
Last NameChatman
Year of Conviction1981
Year of Exoneration2008
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionTexas
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

● No testimony in support of alibi, aside from the defendant’s own testimony.

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

“Q: Did you rape that woman that night in her house like she says? A: No sir I didn’t and that’s the honest truth.”

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

Chatman was a Type O secretor and consistent with that, H substances were detected on the rape kit evidence. The victim was a Type A (though apparently no test was conducted to assess the victim’s secretor status).

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

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

Quotes from testimony #1

Victim described “admonition to look carefully at the features” but to ignore any facial hair Officer recalled telling victim “to look through the photographs, all six photographs, from the first one to the last one, if there was anyone that could have possibly been the assailant to so advise me.”

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancy in description – did not mention missing teeth Did not mention that had seen attacker previously in the neighborhood

Quotes from testimony #2

Victim got “a good glance” at attacker but said she did not notice his teeth.

Highest level reachedNR

Read more about this exoneration

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