A former Fort Worth, TX, police officer was vindicated on a rape charge handed down to him more than 21 years ago.
Brian Johnson, 56, walked out of the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center on Friday a free man after an appeals court fully overturned a rape conviction from 1994, so says Daily Mail. According to documents related to the case, Johnson allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old girl in the backyard of her father's home during a gathering. Although he constantly asserted his innocence in the crime, it wasn't until an admittance of truth from the supposed victim two years ago that law officials took his side seriously.The claimant would go on to profess during another case in 2014 that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather for several years, well before she was ever supposedly touched by Johnson. However, during deliberations for the 1994 matter, she claimed that she was a virgin before the accused assaulted her.
As DNA testing was not prevalent in Fort Worth during the time of the crime, the strength of the then-teenager's word, as well as the bruising she was purported to have received from Johnson's assault, became the strongest factor of Johnson's receiving of a life sentence for aggravated sexual assault in 1995.
Back in April of this year, a ruling was made to toss out Johnson's 1994 verdict due to false evidence coming from those who were influenced by the supposed victim's story. This past Friday, Johnson was completely exonerated in his retrial.
"I knew it was going to come," Johnson relayed to KDFW-TV in Fort Worth on Friday. "I wasn't surprised."
When it comes to the accuser, her stepfather pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of injury to a child during the 2014 court hearing, and received a decade-long probation sentence. He has since passed away, according to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
On Thursday, spokeswoman Sam Jordan of the Tarrant County District Attorney's office remarked that Franklin shouldn't get too comfortable as she's planning to take the matter to the Grand Jury.
"We feel that the evidence still substantiates the claim against him," she stated. [He] was a police officer [and] we call on them to protect a child, not cause harm to them."Meanwhile, Johnson's counsel, high-end Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin, also agrees with leaving the legal door open for his client as he prepares to sue the city to have his name cleared, and have his burdens financially compensated. Nonetheless, Johnson's time as a cop in Fort Worth reminds him that situations like his own happen more often than not.
"I'm not the first and I probably won't be the last [this happens to]," he said. "When the system makes mistakes, they need to admit it."
In a related story shared by Pittsburgh's 4 Action News, an Allegheny man who says he was wrongly accused of a devastating home blaze walked out of jail on Friday after more than two decades.Gregory Brown, Jr. was just 17 years old at the time of the 1995 torching of the Bricelyn Street dwelling where Pittsburgh fire Capt. Thomas Brooks, 42, and firefighters Marc Kolenda, 27, and Patricia Conroy, 43, resided. According to several witnesses, Brown set the fire in hopes of collecting around $20,000 in insurance money to purchase a new home.
In 2014, Brown was granted a new trial after attorneys for the defense uncovered that two witnesses who had testified against the accused had actually been bribed by the state's former Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau.
"I'm innocent," Brown, now 39, told reporters outside of the jail he was held in. "Like hundreds of others in here in my position, I just got lucky. I got the right legal team behind me. Others don't. So, you know, it's bittersweet [to be leaving]."
The U.S. Attorney's Office is said to be filing a federal indictment against Brown, which negated a planned retrial from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on the second-degree murder rap.
[Featured Image by romikmk/iStock]