After nearly seven years in prison, DNA evidence gets man new trial in Detroit rape case
A man who spent nearly seven years in prison after a 2007 rape conviction has been released after new DNA testing pointed to someone else.
Donya Davis, 36, who was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, carjacking, armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm, was sentenced to 67 years in prison, but is now free on bond pending another trial.
“New DNA testing of biological evidence collected in the 2006 rape case points to another man and excludes Donya Davis,” announced the Cooley Law School Innocence Project, which represents Davis in the case.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office has not moved to drop the charges against Davis, but agreed to a new trial.
“The first step towards obtaining justice for Donya Davis has been achieved,” said Marla Mitchell-Cichon, one of the Cooley lawyers representing him.
She said Michigan’s post-conviction DNA testing law, which is set to expire January 1, 2016, allowed cells collected from the rape victim’s thighs to be sent for further evaluation to a lab in Virginia, which eliminated Davis as a source of the DNA.
“Previous versions of the law would have precluded Davis from seeking the testing that now shows he didn’t commit the crime,” said Mitchell-Cichon. “Now he is hoping for justice for himself and the victim.”