Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Willie Rainge

First NameWillie
Last NameRainge
Year of Conviction1978
Year of Exoneration1996
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionIllinois
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

● Defendant’s girlfriend testified that she was with defendant at his house when the crime occurred.

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

“Q: Did you at any time see either of the deceased? A: No I didn’t.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Error
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(5) Invalid use of serology; hair match
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

See Adams, described supra. The analyst testified that hairs looked “[J]ust like if you dropped two dollar bills and you see two dollar bills on the floor. You see two one dollar bills. It’s obvious. And that’s how it looked there.” See Part II.B.2 for a discussion of this case. Codefendant Adams’ blood exhibited an “H reaction” similar to the A type blood found in samples from the victim. “I believe the population is less than two percent of the people that have that” type of clumping due to an “H reaction.” See Adams concerning error in typing co-defendant’s contribution.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up – shown only three photos in addition to three photos of defendants

Quotes from testimony #1

See Adams.

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial nonidentification – did not identify defendants until after offered police relocation

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessCD, J
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public details in codefendant Paula Gray’s reported and false confession, see False Confessions Appendix. ● Non-public details in jailhouse informant’s statements (see Adams, Jimerson)
Quotes from testimony #3

Jailhouse informant testified: “Dennis Williams said he’s glad he took care of the guy and he was tellint Una don’t worry about nothing because they’re gone. They’ll never find the pistol, you know.” And that “they didn’t really shouldn’t have took it from the lady, you know.”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Fabrication of Evidence
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jackson Claim
  • Jury Instructions
  • Jury Selection
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
  • NP
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Rainge, 445 N.E.2d 535 (Ill.App. 1 Dist. 1983)
Illinois v. Rainge, 467 U.S. 1219 (1984)
People v. Rainge, 570 N.E.2d 431 (Ill. App. 1 Dist. 1991)
People v. Rainge, 580 N.E.2d 129 (Ill. 1991)

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