Colorado Man Exonerated: Robert ‘Rider’ Dewey Released From Prison

Robert “Rider” Dewey was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison, without the chance of parole, for the rape and murder of 19-year-old Jacie Taylor in June of 1994. He was released from prison and exonerated on the basis of new DNA evidence.

Dewey walked out of a courthouse in Grand Junction, Colorado, on Monday after Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn found him innocent of the ’94 slaying. Flynn stated during a brief hearing:

“Mr. Dewey spent 6,219 days of his life incarcerated for a crime he did not do. This is a reminder to the entire system that it’s not perfect.”

Judge Flynn went onto state that there had not been any misconduct committed by the prosecution, an impartial jury had heard the case, and yet he was quoted having said:

“Despite all these things, the system didn’t work.”

Jacie Taylor’s partially clothed body was discovered in her bathtub in Palisade, Colorado. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten, and eventually strangled with a dog leash.

Dewey was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of Taylor. He has since been exonerated by Judge Flynn. As his first act of freedom, he deeply inhaled a burning sprig of sage, lit by his pen-pal girlfriend Angela Brandenberg in what he described as a Native American ritual. This was the first time that the two pen-pals had ever met in person.

The prosecution announced Monday that they were seeking an arrest warrant for an entirely new suspect in the ’94 killing. The new suspect, identified by DNA testing, is currently serving a life sentence for a 1989 murder of similar fashion.

DNA samples indicated that Douglas Thames was a match. He is currently serving a life sentence without parole for the rape and strangulation of 39-year-old Susan Doll of Fort Collins.

Smiling, Robert told reporters outside of the court from which he was released:

“I get to step outside there, touch a tree, get a dog and kiss my girl. What good would it [harboring animosity] do me? They threw me into a dark hole with just a pinhole of light. I had to stay positive.”

Upon release, Rider was intent on taking his mother, stepfather, and girlfriend out to the best restaurant in Grand Junction to order a filet mignon.

This is certainly not the first time DNA evidence has resulted in a wrongful conviction being overturned by a judge as Robert Dewey‘s story is similar to that of Timothy Matthews, another Colorado man exonerated after DNA testing indicated that he was innocent in the slaying of a woman discovered near his home, for which he was previously sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Timothy Matthews: Colorado Man Exonerated Video: