Clarence Moses-EL was declared guilty in 1988 and sentenced to 48 years in prison for rape and assault. A Denver woman, who had a drink out with three men, concluded after a dream that Moses-EL was behind a rape and assault attack on her that very night.
That was on a summer night of 1987.
With facial bones broken and lost sight in one eye, whilst in the hospital, the woman identified Moses-EL as her attacker, stating that his face came to her in a dream.
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Innocent of the charges, Moses-EL challenged his conviction and the sentence meted out to him.
But he was unsuccessful in his appeal because the Denver Police discarded the DNA evidence from the attack. Body swabs and the victim’s clothing were destroyed by the police despite a judge’s order that they are preserved for testing in what would have upheld or confirmed Moses-EL’s guilt or innocence.
“I am aware of the pain that the victim has endured over the years and that the destruction of DNA evidence prolonged this case unnecessarily,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in February last year.
In 2015, Moses-EL was released from prison after a Denver judge quashed his convictions and granted him a new trial. The judge’s decision was based in part on the confession of another man to the sexual assault.
Moses-EL in 2013 received a letter from LC Jackson, one of the three men who had a drink with the rape victim that night in 1987. “Let’s start by bringing what was done in the dark into the light,” the letter read, Daily Mail reported. “I have a lot on my heart.”
The letter, according to the outlet led to a hearing where Jackson testified that he became angry during sex with the woman and hit her in the face.
In 2016, a jury acquitted Moses-EL of all crimes in the case after he had spent 28 years behind bars.
“This is a very important point about DNA evidence. It has this lasting and probative effect, which is why preserving it is important,” Weiser said. “We have to learn from this to my mind, tragic mistake, and action.”
After insisting for nearly 30 years he was innocent, Moses-EL gained his freedom in 2016 after a Denver judge read the words “not guilty,” the Denver Post reported.
“This is the moment of my life, right here,” Moses-El, who was 60 then, said outside a Denver jail, adding, “I just want to get home to my family, my grandchildren. It’s wonderful, I waited a long time for this.”
According to reports, Moses-EL was set to be awarded about $2 million in compensation from the state in a case Weiser described as a “travesty of justice.” “We have to learn from this … tragic mistake and action,” he said. “There is, I believe now, a clear and powerful example of financial and human costs.”
Under a Colorado law passed in 2013, people who’ve been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned are eligible to petition for $70,000 per year they spent behind bars, the Colorado Independent reported and in Moses-EL’s case, that total comes to almost $2 million, making him the second person to be compensated under this law.
“That’s another reason why I’m happy because it allows me to regain a lot of things that meant so much to me, so dear to me, that now having possession of these things again, it makes me feel like a full person,” said Moses-EL.