Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Richard Alexander

First NameRichard
Last NameAlexander
Year of Conviction1998
Year of Exoneration2001
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionIndiana
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea2 Trials
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● No defense witnesses called, but attorney asserted in openings that “this is a case of misidentification” and noting that forensic evidence excluded defendant in other crimes.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • DNA excluded
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Excluded)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst testified that “none of the DNA was consistent with Richard Alexander.” Hairs compared exhibited similarities and differences from Alexander, so were not deemed a match.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses4
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up – only person with short sleeves ● He was repeated in photo array and line-up ● Eyewitness not told attacker might not be in line-up ● Multiple witnesses viewed lineup at same time

Quotes from testimony #1

A. To the best of my recollection, she had asked me something to the effect of would you consent to coming to the lineup to try to identify your attacker. Q. Did you believe that that person may be there at the lineup? A. I figured that being logical. Obviously, there would have been something to persuade the police that there might have been someone in that lineup that might have been the person “Were all of these witnesses in the same room? A. Yes.” [7 witnesses / victims present with 8 police] One victim “had gotten emotional” during line-up, with others present. “Do you remember, the first time the line-up came out was Richard Alexander the only person who had a cut-off t-shirt? A. I believe he was.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Witness could not see attacker’s face ● Discrepancies in description, including tattoo, skin complexion ● Initial non-identification, in which one eyewitness had picked out two other individuals (as did a non-victim eyewitness who did not testify at trial) and one identified noone ● Initially uncertain

Quotes from testimony #2

One victim initially told police “he looked similar, but she was not positive it was him,” when viewing photo array, She had seen only the attacker’s silhouette. Second victim unable to make identification from photo array and did not see attacker’s face. A third victim, at the line-up stated that “his build looked like the person she was attacked by…” Fourth eyewitness selected two other people from photo arrays: “Q. And these photo arrays, you picked out number three the first time [not Alexander]… A. Yes”

Highest level reachedNR

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