For the second time in a week, the Harris County DA's office is announcing they are taking steps to free a wrongly convicted inmate.
Michael Anthony Green, 45, has served 27 years for a sexual assault prosecutors are now convinced he did not commit, thanks to DNA evidence. It's believed to be a record time behind bars for a Texas inmate wrongly imprisoned.
First Assistant DA Jim Leitner was pretty bold in the announcement: "The evidence in this case had been sitting in the District Clerk's Office for 27 years, and no one had taken the initiative to do anything with it in the past," Leitner said. "The difference now is that you've got the Post Conviction Review Section looking into it -- and that made all the difference in the case of Mr. Green."
Green was convicted, along with three other men, in the sexual assault of a woman in the Greenspoint area in 1983.
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Here's how the DAs office describes events:
The Green case stretches back to April 18, 1983, when four men abducted a woman at a pay telephone in the Greenspoint area. They drove her to a remote location where three of the men sexually assaulted her, threw her out of the car and drove away. A fourth man in the car refused to participate in the sexual assault.
Later, Houston Police chased a stolen car matching the description of the vehicle. The four occupants abandoned the car and scattered, triggering a law enforcement manhunt in north Houston. Officers detained Green that night as he was walking in the area.
Although the victim could not identify Green in person when he was initially detained, she later identified him in a photo array as one of the three men who sexually assaulted her. Green was the only person convicted of the crime.
Prosecutors now say they know who committed the assault, and it wasn't Green. Green is expected to be let out on bond tomorrow, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will be asked to overturn his conviction.
Update: KPRC's Phil Archer is reporting on his Facebook page that Thursday morning attorneys and the judge agreed Green was "too upset" to be freed, and the hearing was re-set for Friday. More from the Houston Chronicle.