A Houston man freed last year after spending 23 years in prison for a rape he did not commit cleared another hurdle Tuesday in his quest to be declared “actually innocent.”
DNA test results released in court Tuesday show that Ernest Sonnier, 47, was not involved in a second rape, which ended in a murder for which he was a suspect in 1985, said Alba Morales, the Innocence Project staff attorney handling the case. She said the test excluded Sonnier from being involved.
In the rape for which he was convicted, DNA testing over the past two years implicated two convicted felons as the perpetrators of the 1985 crime, Morales said.
Sonnier was released last Aug. 6 on a personal recognizance bond that included travel restrictions, including wearing an ankle monitor. State District Judge Michael McSpadden ruled Tuesday that Sonnier can travel freely and no longer must wear the monitor.
For more background see the Justice Project's report on Sonnier's case.