Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Clarence Elkins

First NameClarence
Last NameElkins
Year of Conviction1999
Year of Exoneration2005
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionOhio
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Eight witnesses testified seeing defendant at a bar away from the crime scene at various points in the night while the crime was being committed. ● Defendant’s wife testified that defendant came home after being out at the bar.

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

“Q: Clarence, the early morning hours of June 7th, 1998 in Barberton, did you kill your mother-in-law? A: No, I did not. Q: Were you even there in Barberton at that time? A: No, I was not. Q: Did you hit Brooke? A: No, I did not. Q: Did you attempt to rape Brooke? A: No, I did not. Q: While all that was happening, where were you? A: Well, I was in bed if this happened, I don’t know what time it happened, but I was in bed after I come home from the bars? Q: And you didn’t leave your house? A: Absolutely not. Q: Are you innocent of these charges? A: Yes, I am innocent.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • DNA excluded
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Excluded)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

A defense witness testified that mitochondrial DNA excluded Elkins. No latent prints were compared; all were deemed insufficient for comparison.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Suggestive Procedures

No – victim eyewitness was an Acquaintance – no identification procedures used

Unreliable Identification?

No No description was provided to police. However, six year-old victim did not initially say that “Uncle Clarence” did it, but only after speaking to her mother and father and an officer, did she identify him. She saw the attacker’s face only briefly, “only once,” which was “when he punched me.”

Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jackson Claim
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Court Newly Discovered Evidence Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Elkins, 2000 WL 1420285 (Ohio App. 9 Dist. 2000)
State v. Elkins, 2003 WL 22015409 (Ohio App. 9 Dist. 2003)

Read more about this exoneration