The Crime: In July 1982, a young white woman was beaten, threatened and raped by a black man who approached her on a bicycle in Virginia. After the victim told police the assailant said during the attack that he "had a white girl," officers immediately singled out Anderson as a suspect he was the only man they knew who lived with a white woman. Officers obtained a color photo identification card from Anderson's employer and presented it to the victim with a series of black-and-white photos of other people. The victim identified Anderson, who was tried and convicted, at age 18, of two counts of rape, forcible sodomy, abduction and robbery.
The Exoneration: Since the beginning of the case, Anderson had an alibi, and evidence had pointed toward John Otis Lincoln, who owned the bike. In 1988, Lincoln admitted his involvement with the crime, but a judge declared that Lincoln was lying. In 2001, the Innocence Project was informed that DNA swabs from the victim's body were available. The results excluded Anderson as the assailant; markers on the samples matched two other men, including Lincoln. Anderson had spent 15 years in Virginia prison. Lincoln was tried and convicted of the crime in 2003.
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