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Johnny Pinchback Will Be Freed Thursday After Serving 27 Years For Crime He Didn't Commit

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At around 10:30 on the night of March 22, 1984, two girls, both younger than 16, were on their way home from a store in their Dallas neighborhood when they were approached by a man wielding a gun. He told them to go with him into a nearby field. He said he would shoot them if they did not comply. He tied the two girls together, then raped them both before fleeing on foot. After the assault, the girls walked to a nearby house, where they called Dallas Police.

According to Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins's office, they were then taken to a hospital, where both girls were given rape exams. A few days later, on April 4, both were shown police photo spreads. And both said the same thing: Johnny Pinchback was the man who raped them. He insisted he was innocent. And on October 5, 1984, a Dallas County jury found him guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced Pinchback to 99 years in prison.

But Watkins's office just sent word: Tomorrow morning at 9, in Judge Don Adams's courtroom, prosecutors will ask that Pinchback be found innocent and released, based upon DNA evidence that clears him of the crime.

"Thanks to the thorough investigation by our Conviction Integrity Unit and the continuous advances in DNA technology, Johnny Pinchback will regain his freedom as we have concluded that he did not commit this crime," Watkins says in a prepared statement. "As always, we seek justice on legitimate post-conviction claims of innocence to ensure we get to the truth, and when the truth reveals that an individual was wrongfully convicted, we take action to correct that injustice."

Pinchback, who is now 55, will become the 26th wrongfully imprisoned Dallas County man given his freedom in the past decade -- and the 22nd cleared by DNA evidence since 2001.

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