Wrongly Convicted Database Record

 

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Douglas Echols

 

Charge:

"Sexual Assault, Kidnapping and Robbery"

Sentence:

31 years

Years Imprisoned:

7

Year Crime:

1986

Year Convicted:

1987

Year Cleared:

2002

U.S. State or Country of Crime:

Georgia

County or Region of Crime:

Chatham

City of Crime:

Savannah

Result:

Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Douglas Echols was codefendant of Samuel Scott. The two men were wrongly convicted in 1987 of raping a young woman in Savannah, Georgia, who escaped when her assailants argued amongst themselves. The victim led police to the house of Samuel Scott, where he and Douglas Echols were arrested. After their arrest the woman identified Scott and Echols as her attackers. However, at trial the two men claimed to have been out with another woman at the time of the attack, and that woman testified on their behalf, as did another witness who said he saw the them at a restaurant at about the time of the attack. After their convictions by a jury Scott was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years, and Echols was sentenced to 31 years in prison. Echols was released on parole in 1992. In 2000 Echols was arrested in Memphis on an arrest warrant was issued because he had not reported to his parole officer for two years. Echols defense was he thought his parole had ended. Echols was found guilty of the parole violation and sent back to prison. In 1996 The Innocence Project at Cardoza School of Law began working on behalf of Scott, who was still imprisoned. In July 2001 DNA test results excluded Scott as the woman's attacker, and subsequent DNA tests excluded Echols. The indictment against the two men was dismissed on Oct. 7, 2002. Samuel Scott was wrongly imprisoned for almost 17 years, and Echols for more than 7 years -- five years before his parole, and two years for his parole violation. On February 23, 2005, a bill was introduced in the Georgia legislature for the Department of Corrections to compensate Echols with a payment of $1.6 million, and also compensate Scott. Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton used his political influence to successfully lobby against passage of the bill -- telling lawmakers that the DNA evidence didn't exonerate Echols and Scott from commission of the crime. The bill did not pass the legislature, and neither Echols nor Scott was compensated for their wrongful imprisonment. Echols filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Lawton that claim he violated Echols' constitutional rights by lobbying the lawmakers against awarding compensation to Echols and Scott."

Conviction Caused By:

False eyewitness identification by the victim of Samuel Scott and Douglas Echols.

Innocence Proved By:

DNA tests excluded Samuel Scott and Douglas Echols.

Defendant Aided By:

Innocence Project NY

Compensation Awarded:

No

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

25

Age When Released:

41

Sex:

Skin/Ethnicity:

Black

Information Source 1:

"Rape convictions overturned on basis of DNA evidence, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Savannah, GA, 07-04-2002"

Information Location 1:

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/3598293.htm

Information Source 2:

"Douglas Echols, Wikipedia.org (last viewed 7/15/2016)"

Information Location 2:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Echols

Information Source 3:

"Cleared by DNA, Georgia men seek restitution: One gets paid; two get nothing, By Shannon McCaffrey, Athens Banner-Herald, July 19, 2009"

Information Location 3:

http://onlineathens.com/stories/071909/new_465534484.shtml#.V4_wer-xm5I

Information Source 4:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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