A Memphis man who spent more than 22 years in prison for a rape that DNA showed he did not commit was officially exonerated Tuesday by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. The action clears the way for Clark McMillan to seek up to $1 million under a new state law created for people wrongfully convicted, reports the Commercial Appeal. McMillan, 47, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at knifepoint and robbing her boyfriend in Overton Park in 1979. On May 19, 1980, he was sentenced to 119 years in prison.
In 1996, he contacted the New York-based Innocence Project, which began investigating his case and succeeded in getting the DNA testing that cleared him of the crime in 2002. He was released from prison on May 15 of that year. Last month the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole recommended the governor exonerate McMillan. Biological material from the rape was entered into the FBI’s national database for sex offenders and resulted in a match with former Memphian Davis Louis Boyd, who is serving a life sentence in Texas for aggravated rape with a deadly weapon.