The more time that elapses from the moment of a crime, the muddier the facts can get. This is why convicting and punishing individuals for crimes that happened decades ago can often lead to innocent men and women going to jail.
Recently, a jury in Collin County, Texas, found a 38-year-old man guilty of sex crimes that were committed back in 2000. That man has been sentenced to life behind bars in the case, which saw its share of contradicting reports.
A jury believed that the man was responsible for the aggravated sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman in Plano, Texas. The woman was outside of a bakery where she worked very early one morning as she waited to go inside for her shift. That's when the man allegedly approached the woman wearing just his underwear.
For a brief period of time, the woman lost consciousness, and when she came to, he was allegedly sexually assaulting her. The man also allegedly tried to abduct her by throwing her into his vehicle, but she fought him off.
The woman suffered a broken hand and a fractured cheek in the incident.
In 2006, media reports stated that authorities were unable to uncover DNA evidence following the incident. But five years after the incident, police decided to submit the woman's clothes to a DNA lab, and DNA was obtained that allegedly matched the man. Shortly after the findings, the man was indicted on sexual assault charges in 2007.
Texas residents have to ask themselves, does the late-emerging evidence throw up any red flags that the man might have been wrongfully accused? How come the clothes couldn't have been sent to a lab at the time of the incident?
Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Man sentenced to life in prison after brutal attack in Plano in 2000," Valerie Wigglesworth, April 20, 2012