US: Brothers released after 25 years in prison for rape and murder they didn't commit

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Updated: Mar 23, 2022, 04:26 PM(IST)

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Two US brothers have been cleared of all charges related to a 1995 murder after a nearly “25-year struggle” to prove their innocence from behind bars, officials announced.

A court on Tuesday lifted the life sentences of two brothers who spent 25 years in jail for the 1995 rape and murder of a woman in her Pontiac basement, in a case long criticised by innocence activists.

Despite the lack of DNA evidence linking Melvin and George DeJesus to the murder and rape of Margaret Midkiff on July 11, 1995, and witnesses testifying that the brothers were elsewhere at the time of the crime, the brothers were convicted.

The brothers were convicted entirely on the testimony of convicted rapist Brandon Gohagen, 50, whose DNA was found at the murder scene. 

Gohagen said that the DeJesus brothers forced him to rape Midkiff, who was 43 years old at the time, but that he did not murder her.

A jury agreed with him, and the brothers were found guilty of first-degree murder in 1997.

New evidence shows Gohagen was solely responsible for Midkiff's murder, as well as 12 other sexual assaults in Pontiac from the 1990s, according to Robyn Frankel of the Michigan Attorney General's Conviction Integrity Unit, who testified before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Martha Anderson on Tuesday. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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