9/1/99 -- 5:54 PM
DNA test clears man imprisoned 17 years for rape
STORMVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - A 60-year-old man who spent 17 years in prison
for rape became a free man Wednesday after a DNA test cleared him.
Vincent H. Jenkins, also known by
the Muslim name of Warith
Habib Abdal, was convicted of robbing and raping a 23-year-old woman who
was attacked in a Buffalo nature preserve in 1982.
He was sentenced to 20 years to
life in prison.
His lawyer claimed improper police
tactics prompted the victim
to identify Jenkins months after the rape, even though she wasn't
initially able to do so.
DNA evidence testing that was
completed in April showed
virtually beyond any doubt that Jenkins was not the rapist. The
technology was not available when he was charged.
U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin
ruled Tuesday that Jenkins
was wrongly convicted of the rape, opening the way for him to be freed.
Jenkins is the 61st inmate in the
United States to be
exonerated by DNA testing.