Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Gerald Davis

First NameGerald
Last NameDavis
Year of Conviction1987
Year of Exoneration2010
State of ConvictionWest Virginia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant testified that he and his father were out drinking and did not come back until 11:00 (victim claimed she went over to defendant’s trailer at 8:30)

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

“Q: Mr. Davis, during the evening hours of February 18th and the morning hours of February 19th, did you at any time attempt to have sexual intercourse with [the victim]? A: No, sir. I did not. Q: Did you attempt to remove her clothes forcibly? A: No, sir. Q: Did you attempt to detain her against her will for the purpose of having sexual relations with her? A: No, sir. Q: Did you hit or threaten her in any way? A: No. Q: Did you touch her or hold her in any way? A: No, sir. Q: During the entirety of the visit, you never touched this woman? A: No, sir. I did not.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1), (2) Masking and Degradation used to Ignore Exclusion
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

See above; though the victim and Davis were both O secretors and A substances were found, no exclusion was reported. The analyst testified: “There was an indication of an A blood type. When I have an indication of any blood types, they are reported out…. You can have different factors that can cause contamination in stains. One of the most prevalent factors that we encounter are bacterial contamination. Bacterial contamination can give you what is called false positives and give you blood types separate and aside from what you’re truly identifying…” See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of this case.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
  • Jury Instructions
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Davis, 376 S.E.2d 563 (W.Va. 1988)

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