The persistence of a Houston attorney who kept digging for DNA evidence to clear his client will lead to the release of a man who has served 18 years in prison on a sexual assault conviction, reports the Houston Chronicle. DNA test results eliminated Arthur Mumphrey, 42, as the rapist in a 1986 attack on a 13-year-old girl. The tests were based on DNA evidence – semen from a vaginal swab and panties and Mumphrey’s blood and saliva samples – collected and stored by the Texas Department of Public Safety since 1986.
Mumphrey has always maintained his innocence. A jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 35 years in prison largely based on testimony from a co-defendant and the victim. Attorney Eric Davis was told by Texas officials and the prosecutor’s office that the original evidence in the case could not be found, but it was found on the third try after he kept pressing for it. ”If we had given up, he’d still be in jail. It’s by the grace of God,” Davis said.