Man tries to clear his name in 25-year-old rape case
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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- A man who says he was wrongfully convicted of rape nearly 25 years ago filed documents fighting for his innocence. Willie Grimes, 65, was convicted in 1988 but earlier this week his attorney filed a “plea for declaration of innocence" and they say there is evidence to prove another man's guilt.
“That's the only thing I've been trying to do since I've been in here because clear my name is the most important thing in my life,” said Grimes.
The “plea for declaration of innocence” is a nearly 50 page document and lists several reasons why Grimes is innocent, including an alibi for the time of the rape. It says fingerprints from the crime scene were matched to another man, 65-year-old Albert Turner.
Turner was in court in Catawba County Wednesday morning, charged with a seperate rape from 1973. Turner has a long criminal record, including several convictions of assault on a female.
The SBI says it investigated Turner at the request of the district attorney's office. Jay Gaither says the burden is on Grimes to prove his innocence. He will have a chance to do that next Monday in front of a three-judge panel.
The North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence has been helping Grimes fight to clear his name. There will be a hearing next week to discuss his chances.