BENEFITING: Innocence Project
EVENT DATE: Mar 19, 2017
Anthony Wright was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of an elderly woman in Philadelphia and spent 25 years in prison before a jury found him not guilty at a retrial this August. In 2014, DNA testing proved his innocence and identified the perpetrator, and his convictions were vacated.
However prosecutors made the extraordinary choice to retry Anthony for a crime that DNA evidence proved he did not commit, and he remained in prison two more years awaiting his second trial. It took the jury less than an hour to return its verdict of not guilty.
At the time of his arrest, police claimed that Anthony voluntarily gave a full and complete signed confession. Anthony, who was just 20 years old, has always maintained his innocence and testified that he only signed the alleged confession, which the police wrote, after the interrogating detectives physically threatened him. The police also said they recovered bloody clothes worn by the perpetrator from Anthony’s home. DNA testing proved the clothing actually belonged to the victim.
The Innocence Project fought for years to get DNA testing of the crime scene evidence despite objections by the district attorney’s office, taking the case all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court before testing was granted.
On Aug. 23, 2016, Anthony walked out of prison surrounded by his family, including his son and granddaughter. He is the 344th DNA exoneree in the United States. Photo Credit: Kevin Monko