Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Willie Williams

First NameWillie
Last NameWilliams
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration2007
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionGeorgia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s friend’s mother testified that defendant was at her house at the time the crime occurred.

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

Defendand denied committing the offense and described his whereabouts the evening of the crime. He testified “I’m not familiar with that area” where the crime took place and that “I don’t have a driver’s license or a car” with which he could have travelled there.

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1), (3) Masking, false probability
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The victim was an O secretor, O blood group substances were found, and Williams was a non-secretor. The analyst claimed to exclude 44% and include O secretors and all non-secretors – but not A or B secretors. In fact none could be eliminated. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Mug shots
  • Photo array
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive remarks – told victim suspect may be in photo array, and told other victim before show-up that man had been arrested for something else ● Show-up – first live identification by both victims was at preliminary hearing, where defendant was brought before them by police ● Show-up – one victim shown other victim’s composite drawing prior to preparing one. Also brought victim to apartment of second victim while she viewed photo array.

Quotes from testimony #1

Officer testified: “After showing the composite drawing, she informed me that – she stated that that’s him, that’s him” “I informed her that I had a spread, some pictures for her to look at, one of the pictures that I think may be the suspect…” First victim – “they told me they had arrested the man for something else, to bring him to let me see him. If that wasn’t him they would keep looking. They brought him in and they said take a look but we need to know if this was him.”

Unreliable Identification?

No – although one victim described medium complexion, while another described dark complexion

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

Williams v. State, 181 Ga. App. 693 (1987)

Read more about this exoneration