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Imprisoned for 7 Years on Rape Conviction, Man Released After New DNA Tests

The Innocence Project at a Lansing law school says DNA testing excludes Donya Davis as a suspect in 2006 crime, but the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office says that doesn’t mean he has been cleared. A new trial has been ordered.

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project says new DNA tests rule out a man who had served seven years of a 67-year sentence in a rape charge. (Patch file photo)
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project says new DNA tests rule out a man who had served seven years of a 67-year sentence in a rape charge. (Patch file photo)

A Detroit man who was in prison for seven years was freed Friday and granted a new trial based on the results of DNA testing requested by the Lansing-based Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project.

Donya Davis, 36, was released after DNA evidence ruled him outin a 2006 rape, the Detroit Free Press reports. Wayne County Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin set Davis’ bond at 10 percent of $75,000.

Davis had been sentenced to 67 years in prison for a stranger rape of a Detroit woman in 2006 but the Innocence Project said in a news release the DNA evidence points to another man.

Evidence presented in Davis’ 2007 trial included skin cells collected by the Detroit Police Department’s Crime Lab, but the Innocence Project maintains further testing of those cells also excludes Davis.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office said Davis’ release from prison doesn’t mean that he has been cleared of the charges, which included criminal sexual conduct, carjacking and armed robbery.

“Today our office has agreed to a new trial in this case,”Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said in a statement. “It is important to recognize that at this juncture the agreement for a new trial does not mean that Mr. Davis has been exonerated of the charges.”

Davis has maintained his innocence since his arrest eight years ago and said the only evidence against him was identification by the victim, according to a the Cooley news release.

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