Gerardo Cabanillas, a man from California, spent almost 30 years in prison for crimes of rape, kidnapping and robbery, but his life will change: Los Angeles prosecutors declared him innocent after the DNA testing showed he was not guilty of the crimes charged. against him.
“We recognize a grave injustice that resulted in the unjust imprisonment of Mr. Cabanillas for over 28 years. After a thorough re-examination of the evidence and a review of the case by the Conviction Integrity Unit in my office, it became very clear that a serious mistake had been made. “I extend my sincere apologies for the court’s decision and the failure of our criminal legal system,” said District Attorney George Gascón.
In 1995, the American citizen was accused of attacking a couple sitting in a car in the city of South Gate. He admitted that one of the two subjects approached the car, forced the man to leave the car and then abused the woman, after taking her to an abandoned house. In addition, a second attack occurred later on another couple.
According to the California Innocence Project, which represents Gerardo Cabanillas, the victims of both attacks were informed of the confession and recognized the man in a series of photographs. Later, in court, they claimed to be skeptical and said they were forced to identify him.
Because of the DNA test that was done, it was shown that two other people committed the crime and Cabanillas was involved in the investigations and lied in his confession, which was forced by a detective, who promised him that he would not go to prison if he admitted that he had committed it. and crime.
“False confessions are one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the United States. Police may lie to suspects, including promises of leniency if the person confesses. That is exactly what happened here and, if not for the DNA evidence, Gerardo would have spent the rest of his life in prison,” acting director Alissa Bjerkhoel said in a statement.
“We are excited for Gerardo and his family that the truth has finally escaped him,” he added.