Ohio Man Freed by DNA Evidence After 29 Years in Prison

By Kamika Dunlap on May 12, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ray Towler is not only a free man after serving 29 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, but the Cleveland native will be sitting courtside to watch LeBron James play game five of the Cavs/Celtics series.

That's just one of the perks that comes along with Ray Towler's new found freedom after the Ohio man was proved innocent by DNA evidence and testing, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Ray Towler spent 29 years in prison for rape he didn't commit.

"I get to start a new life, and the Cavs are going to win the championship. It doesn't get much better than that," said Towler, who seemed to be more focused on the joys of life than blaming anyone for his wrongful conviction.

Towler became the third Ohio man released on the DNA evidence and testing system through the help of an investigative project by the Columbus Dispatch newspaper and the Ohio Innocence Project.

As previously discussed, The Ohio Innocence Project has worked to get the state's new DNA law passed and hopes it will be a model for other states

Ohio's DNA law is aimed at protecting the innocent from wrongful convictions and putting the real criminals behind bars.

Experts have called Ohio's new DNA law a model for improving the criminal justice system.

In April, Gov. Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 77 into law, setting new statewide standards requiring DNA samples to be taken from anyone arrested for a felony.

Several inmates have been freed as states have begun to implement new changes to their innocence reforms.

As previously discussed, James Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 245 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide. But after 35 years, and his fifth request to use DNA evidence, he was set free from a Florida prison.

Lawyers from the Florida Innocence Project helped Bain win his freedom. A national and public policy organization, the project works to exonerate prisoners with wrongful conviction cases through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent further injustice.

In Towler's case, he had no previous felony convictions. He has been serving a sentence of 12 years to life for rape, felonious assault and kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy May 24, 1981.

Towler lost both of his parents while he was locked up, but was reunited with his stepbrother and sister upon his release.

He will receive approximately $1.4 million plus lost wages he's going to collect from the state for his wrongful conviction.

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