According to prosecutors in Los Angeles County, a man convicted of kidnapping, robbery, and rape and spent almost 30 years behind bars has been found innocent and released. The announcement was made on Tuesday, ending a long and painful ordeal for the man.
According to a statement from the county district attorney’s office, Gerardo Cabanillas was acquitted of a 1995 attack on a couple sitting in a parked car in South Gate, thanks to DNA testing. The testing proved his innocence in the case. DNA testing in criminal cases has become an essential tool in recent years, helping to exonerate innocent individuals and bring justice to those who have been wronged.
The DA’s office Conviction Integrity Unit took a closer look at Cabanillas’ case, and just recently, a judge overturned his conviction, stating that he was innocent and ordering his immediate release.
In a statement, District Attorney George Gascón expressed his sincere apologies to Mr. Cabanillas for the unfortunate miscarriage of justice and the failure of our criminal legal system. He acknowledged the gravity of the situation and took full responsibility for the mishap.
According to authorities, another couple driving in the same area fell victim to robbery just two days later.
According to the California Innocence Project at the California Western School of Law, which acted on Cabanillas’s behalf, the attacks’ victims initially identified him through photo lineups after being informed of his confession. However, they later came forward in court to express uncertainty and claimed they were coerced into identifying him.
According to a statement released by the group, the rape kit’s DNA testing revealed that two other individuals committed the assault.
According to the Innocence Project, no other suspects were ever arrested despite one man confessing to committing one of the crimes.
According to a statement made by interim director Alissa Bjerkhoel, false confessions remain a significant contributor to wrongful convictions in the United States. It is disconcerting that police officers have the authority to deceive suspects, often by making promises of reduced sentences in exchange for confessions. This was the exact tactic used in Gerardo’s case, and had it not been for the DNA evidence, he would have been unjustly incarcerated for the rest of his life.
She expressed her excitement for Gerardo and his family as she said they are thrilled that he has finally been released and justice has been served.
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