march, 25, 2012
Woodland, Washington (CNN) — Alan Northrop was playing pool in 1993 when his life changed forever. He was lining up a bank shot when he felt something on his wrist: a handcuff.
Northrop was arrested for the rape and kidnapping of a housekeeper. “I instantly said, ‘No, you’ve got the wrong guy,'” Northrop recalls telling detectives. But detectives believed the victim’s testimony, although she was blindfolded for most of the attack. A jury agreed, sentencing Northrop, a father of three children under age 6, to 23 years in prison.
From behind bars, Northrop tried to prove police had the wrong guy. In 2000, he contacted the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle.
For years, prosecutors denied the project’s requests to use more advanced DNA testing on the evidence in Northrop’s case. In 2005, a new state law gave judges the power to order additional testing. But it took five more years for Northrop’s testing to be completed and for a court to consider the results that conclusively showed another man’s DNA was on the victim.
In 2010, Northrop, still sitting in prison, got a letter with news he thought he might never get.
“I was jumping around the day room saying, ‘I’m out of here! I’m out of here!'” Northrop said.
read full interview on CNN