Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Wilton Dedge

First NameWilton
Last NameDedge
Year of Conviction1982
Year of Exoneration2004
State of ConvictionFlorida
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea2 Trials
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

“Q: Did you enter [the victim’s] home and rape her? A: No sir.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
  • Other
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(5) Hair match
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst in comparing questioned hairs with those of Dedge testified that “it would not be a million white people” who would possess such hairs. The analyst also testified that “[o]ut of all the pubic hairs that I have examined in the laboratory, I have never found two samples, two known samples to match in their microscopic characteristics.” See Part II.B.2 for a discussion of this case.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures


Quotes from testimony #1

Victim was acquainted with Dedge’s brother.

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancies in description – height, weight, victim initially described person much larger and a foot taller than Dedge

Quotes from testimony #2

In taped interview with police, victim described attacker as “about six” feet tall, and initially described attacker as about 200 pounds, later 160 pounds, and “big, muscular.” Dedge was 5’5” and 125 pounds

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessJ
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public details included location of rape, type of bike, reported bragging that established an alibi, reported bragging about the victim’s inconsistent descriptionshe
Quotes from testimony #3

Informant claimed that defendant “said, I just raped and cut some old hog.” And that he had “the fastest bike made for the United States,” and “the bitch had give a description to the police that he was, I believe he said six foot tall and a couple hundred points or something like that which he said, look at me, I’m only give foot six and a hundred thirty-five points.” And that later that day, at a biker’s bar in New Smyrna, “he had danced with some biker’s old lady, and the biker got mad, they got into a fight which caused a ruckus, and the police came and made a police report, and that further established his alibi as to not being in Brevard at all that day.” “So when they testified about him being there at work, as far as they knew they were telling the truth because when he did return back to work, he didn’t — no one seen him come back in, either, he just eased his way back into the thick, and it was about quitting time, anyhow, the end of the day.” “And he told me tha the had the trip between New Smyrna and Sharpes down pat where he could make it in fifteen minutes.” “[H]e cracked the throttle all the way open there and he said in a very short time the cable started bounding real bad, and the cable snapped. And he said he knew he was going way over a hundred and sixty miles an hour at that time.” And that he had his trial reversed over dog-scent testimony, and “he was confident he would win his new trial.”

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

Jailhouse informant pleaded guilty, agreed to testify against 2 defendants, and in return his sentence ran concurrently, reducing his sentence from 180 to 60 years. However, he claimed that when speaking to Dedge, he already had an agreement for leniency in the other defendant’s unrelated case, and thus had no deal in Dedge’s case. “Q: Now, you are hoping for some consideration from your testimony in this case, are you not? A: I hope it will look favorably to the Parole Board, yes sir.” “No, sir; I’ve asked for nothing and I’ve been offered nothing.” The State’s Attorney testified, “I told him I can make no promises or guarantees to him,”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Motion for DNA Testing
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Court Newly Discovered Evidence Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Claims granted, resulting in preexon. reversal
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Citations to judicial opinions

Dedge v. State, 442 So.2d 429 (Fla. App. 5 Dist.1983)
Dedge v. State, 479 So.2d 882 (Fla. App. 5 Dist.1985)
Dedge v. State, 723 So.2d 322 (Fla. App. 5 Dist.1998)

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