Indiana man exonerated in 1992 rape case after DNA evidence clears him


William Barnhouse walks out of court on March 8, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Muncie Star Press.)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A central Indiana man who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a 1992 rape has been exonerated after a judge granted a motion by the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss the charges.

In March, William Barnhouse walked out of the courtroom a free man after his conviction was reversed, but it was possible that prosecutors could have put him through a second trial. This ruling eliminates that possibility, ensuring Barnhouse’s freedom.

Prosecutors and attorneys with the Innocence Project filed the joint motion after DNA tests showed another man’s semen was on the pants and inside a 1992 Muncie sexual assault victim.

“We’re thankful to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office for moving quickly to dismiss the charges against Mr. Barnhouse,” said Seema Saifee, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.  “Mr. Barnhouse has waited a long time for this day. While no innocent person should have to endure a wrongful incarceration, prison can be especially devastating for someone like Mr. Barnhouse who suffers from lifelong mental health conditions.”

Since his release in March, Barnhouse has received round-the-clock care and services for his mental conditions and is reportedly doing very well. He has also been reunited with his family.

Barnhouse’s exoneration through DNA evidence is the 350th for the Innocence Project.

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