Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Larry Peterson

First NameLarry
Last NamePeterson
Year of Conviction1989
Year of Exoneration2006
State of ConvictionNew Jersey
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Two alibi witness testified

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

Defendant described his whereabouts the day of the crime and testified “No, sir, I didn’t” attack the victims.

Types of evidence at trial
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Error
  • Invalid
  • Not Disclosed
Reason why invalid(5) Hair match (Gross Error in testing)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

“Q. So my understanding is what you are telling is is that every hair that was known as a questioned hair has been identified as either belonging to the victim or as belonging to Mr. Peterson? A. Yes.” Thus, the analyst identified the hair as actually “belonging” to the defendant. See Part II.B.2 for a discussion of this case. Further, no serology evidence was compared to the defendant, where no spermatozoa was observed; later testing readily observed spermatozoa. See Part II.F.2.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW, J
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● One jailhouse informant and two other cooperating witnesses, describing weapons used, and supposedly corroborated by Medical Examiner’s report of victim’s injuries. Prosecutor stated in closing argument – “I'm going to show you the extent to which they are consistent with each other and how those consistencies impact in terms of corroboration.”
Quotes from testimony #3

Jailhouse informant testified that defendant said “Yeah, I done it, but I was drunk at the time. By the time I realized it, it was too late.” “He said that, um, he wasn’t going to drink no more because alcohol, it made him do something that he regret. He didn’t specify. He just stated that and he said that one time while drinking, he beat somebody with a bat or some stuff something like that. And um, he just went on just, you know, talking about drinking.” The testimony also buttressed the other informants, stating, “I said, ‘Well, did you tell him that?’ He said yeah, but he still don’t feel it was right for the guy to snitch.” The other cooperating witnesses supposedly heard defendant admit to beating, choking victim, tearing her clothes off, and mentioned a stick – which the prosecutor claimed corroborated photographs of injuries, and the Medical Examiner’s report. Jailhouse informant commented, “I didn’t say I like to steal but I do it,” and “I lie on occasion.”

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

Jailhouse informant denied that he had been promised any kind of consideration. He explained he testified “Because what he done could be anybody. Could be anybody’s sister. Could have been my sister. And who’s to say that he won’t do it again”

Highest level reachedNR
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Peterson, 627 A.2d 1139 (N.J. 1993)
State v. Peterson, 772 A.2d 935 (N.J. 2001)

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