Lewis Fogle Spent 34 Years In Prison For Rape And Murder, DNA Test Proved His Innocence

Patricia Didelot

Lewis Fogle spent 34 years in a Pennsylvania prison for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, but DNA testing proved his innocence.

With his wife by his side, Lewis Fogle walked out of the prison he called home for 34 interminable years on Thursday. The man was serving a life sentence for the crime, which he didn't commit, according to the Independent.

For the past 34 years, Fogle's attorneys filed repeated appeals, where they adamantly denied the 63-year-old man's involvement in the rape and murder of 15-year-old Deann "Kathy" Long. Even though a judge in Indiana, Pennsylvania, threw out the conviction on a $25,000 bail, he still believes Lewis Fogle may have been part of the plot to attack the teen.

New DNA testing clears Lewis Fogle of the charges filed against him. Analysis of the sperm left on the victim points to an unidentified male, according to the Innocence Project -- a group that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty agreed to allow the DNA test to be admitted. Additionally, the DA agreed with Innocence Project attorney's request that the conviction be thrown out, despite suspicions that the man was involved in Long's brutal rape and murder.

Lewis Fogle and three other men were convicted of the 1976 crime in 1981, after a man who was in a mental institution at the time, identified them while under hypnosis. According to Innocence Project lawyers, Fogle was tried separately and charged with second-degree murder, based on three imprisoned informants' testimony. Charges against the others were later dropped.

In 2003, Fogle again asked for DNA testing of the evidence, however, the results did not prove he was innocent. Finally, in early 2015, experts extracted samples of the victim's pubic hair taken 34-years-ago, which were negative for Lewis Fogle.

The now-free man told NBC that the first thing he wants to do is have a nice, juicy steak.

"I hoped this day would come. Sometimes, sometimes it was like it was never going to come," Fogle said.

But Lewis Fogle's ordeal is not quite over yet, as Dougherty will continue to pursue the investigation into Long's rape and murder.

"My belief is he was involved. The question is whether I can prove it," the DA said.

"The DNA evidence has proven that Mr. Fogle had nothing to do with this terrible crime," said David Loftis, managing attorney for the Innocence Project. "Now that his conviction has been vacated, we are grateful that he will be reunited with his friends and family today."

"He's my husband and I love him," Lewis Foley's wife, who married him right before his conviction, said outside the courthouse as she was reunited with her husband.

[Image via Innocence Project]