A Man Who Spent 17 Years in Jail After A Wrong Eyewitness Testimony

This Louisiana man spent 17 years in jail simply because “he looked like he was a serial robber.”

“Oh, this is such a scary story,” the reporter said. “Those who have been exonerated by DNA evidence, nearly three-quarters of them were convicted in the first place because of faulty eyewitness testimony. What happened to Royal Clark Jr., you will understand why.”

Royal Clark Jr. was 24 years old back then when he was charged and later convicted of armed robbery on a Burger King restaurant in Terrytown, Louisiana, in November 2001.

“Man, I didn’t know where Burger King was,” Clark said in his interview with CBS News.

The assailant had used a cup in the store and left fingerprints on it, but the prints were determined “unusable for identification purposes.”

Three employees chose Clark from a photo lineup. However, at the trial, only one person, a 19-year-old, was certain that he was the guy.

“What does that feel like when you know you weren’t there, and this witness is saying, ‘it looks like him?’” the interviewer asked Clark.

“Like everything shut down at that moment,” Clark replied.

Fortunately, the prints on the cup were re-analyzed and it was proven that the armed robber was not Clark, and Clark was freed.

More details of this over at the site.


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Eyewitness testimony as such is often not reliable. It does sometimes lead to a rush to judgement and innocent people end up in prison.
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