MAN jailed wrongfully for rape forgives accuser

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A man whom was jailed in 2017 for rape but later acquitted after new evidences proved otherwise hugged his accuser after being released on Thursday.

 

The two got into an elevator with their families, rode to the first floor and talked as they walked out of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

 

“It wasn’t her fault that I was incarcerated,” said James Clay.

 

A jury convicted Clay of rape in 2017, but new information casts doubt that he was responsible for what happened in a Detroit alley two decades earlier. On Thursday, a hearing was held to determine whether Clay will be granted a new trial.

 

Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans said she will give her decision on Aug. 30.

 

Clay was released on bond from prison last month after a Detroit Free Press investigation into the case.

 

James Clay hugs the victim in his rape case after a hearing in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. The two appeared in Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans’ courtroom for a hearing on whether he should be granted a new trial.

 

James Clay hugs the victim in his rape case after a hearing in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. The two appeared in Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans’ courtroom for a hearing on whether he should be granted a new trial.

 

Earlier this year, the victim was shown a picture of what Clay, now 38, looked like when he was younger. She said she had an intimate relationship with him when she was a teenager, around the time she was raped.

 

Jurors, though, heard that she never had consensual sex with Clay. DNA found inside her matched Clay, and he was convicted. Clay has repeatedly said he’s innocent.

 

“If this new evidence were presented now, it’s unlikely that the defendant would be convicted,” Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Somers said during Thursday’s hearing.

 

DNA put him behind bars for rape: Then his old girlfriend saw a photo that set him free

 

Somers and Clay’s attorney, Melvin Houston, asked for a new trial.

 

“We will wait for the judge to rule before commenting on any future action,” Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Maria Miller said in an email.

 

In Evans’ courtroom Thursday, the prosecution and defense summarized what the testimony would be from two private investigators who worked recently on the case, a detective with the prosecutor’s office and the victim.

 

The victim was the only person to take the stand, and her testimony was brief. The Detroit Free Press and USA TODAY do not generally identify victims of sexual assault.

 

She said she wished she had been shown pictures of what Clay looked like when he was younger then she would have recognized him earlier.

 

 

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