Innocent man freed after 29 years

CLEVELAND, May 5 (UPI) -- A man who spent 28 years in prison for raping an 11-year-old girl in a Cleveland park was freed Wednesday, two days after a lab reported he was not the rapist.

Raymond Towler, 52, had been incarcerated since his arrest on Sept. 24, 1981, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.


He was stopped for a traffic violation 12 days after the girl and her 12-year-old male cousin were attacked in Rocky River Reservation and then arrested by a police officer who thought he resembled a sketch of the suspect.

Cuyahoga County Judge Eileen Gallagher cried as she read her ruling clearing Towler. Her courtroom was packed with his relatives during the brief hearing.

During his trial, Towler said he was at home when the two children were assaulted at gunpoint by a man who got them into the woods by telling them he had found a wounded deer. The boy was forced to lie on the ground while his cousin was raped.

In the past six years, evidence from the crime has been through three rounds of increasingly sophisticated DNA testing. A Texas lab reported Monday that its results excluded Towler as the rapist.


Latest Headlines