A Long Branch NJ man who was previously convicted of rape has been exonerated after a DNA test showed that he was innocent.
Dion Harrell, who is now 50 years old, was accused of raping a 17-year-old Long Branch girl in September 1988. He was later convicted on the rape charges at a trial in Monmouth County Superior Court. Harrell subsequently served four years behind bars in New Jersey State Prison.
Even after Harrell served his prison sentence, he had to endure the indignity of being a convicted rapist. Moreover, in accordance with Megan’s Law, Harrell was required to register as a sex offender. For two decades, Harrell has been required to notify potential employers and renters of his status as a convicted sex offender.
Anyone convicted of a sexual offense in New Jersey who later fails to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law so can face harsh consequences. Harrell learned this the hard way: on two occasions, he was sent to jail for not properly registering under Megan’s Law.
Although Harrell has long since served his time in prison, he always maintained his innocence and fought to get his rape conviction overturned. Harrell and his attorneys were eventually able to get the results of a DNA test entered into evidence in court. Those DNA test results showed that Harrell could not possibly have committed the rape
A Monmouth County Superior Court judge recently cited the DNA evidence as the primary reason for vacating Harrell’s earlier rape conviction. The judge said that the “science” behind the DNA testing made it clear that Harrell had been wrongfully convicted.
After his sexual assault conviction was finally overturned, Harrell thanked his friends and family for not giving up on him.
For more information, read the Asbury Park Press article, “Long Branch Man Cleared of 1988 Rape by DNA Test.”
If you have been charged with rape, sexual assault, or any other type of sex crime in New Jersey, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. will help you fight your charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.