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He Spent 30 Years In Prison For A Rape He Didn’t Commit. He Was Just Exonerated.

  An Oklahoma man who spent 30 years in jail for rape and burglary has been exonerated after DNA proved he didn’t commit the crime. Perry Lo...

 An Oklahoma man who spent 30 years in jail for rape and burglary has been exonerated after DNA proved he didn’t commit the crime.

Perry Lott, 61, was released from prison in 2018 after DNA results were first disclosed, the Associated Press reported. Now, five years later, his conviction has been vacated.

“Mr. Lott has shown nothing but persistence and resilience in his 35 year long pursuit of justice. He would not give up on proving his innocence. Five years ago, all evidence pointed to his innocence, but he was denied justice. We are grateful to District Attorney Erik Johnson for his commitment to righting this wrong,” Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Adnan Sultan said in a statement.

On November 2, 1987, a woman in Oklahoma received three anonymous phone calls at her home and one at the restaurant where she worked. During the fourth call, which came into the restaurant, a man told her there was a bomb in the restaurant and that it would explode at 7:30 p.m. The woman successfully evacuated the building and police found no bomb.

The woman arrived home at 1:15 a.m. and immediately felt a gun to her head when she unlocked her front door. She was pushed into her home and raped, with $120 stolen from her purse.

She survived her ordeal and called the police, who took her to the hospital in Ada, Oklahoma, where a rape kit was collected. The victim, a white woman, described her attacker as a black man with a partial gold front tooth. She said he was wearing a cap and jacket, so she couldn’t give a body type, but placed his height somewhere between 5’7” and 6’2”.

When Crime Stoppers filmed a reenactment of the crime near the victim’s home, two police detectives noticed a black man parked on the street and approached the man, later identified as Lott. They noticed he had a gold tooth and asked him where he was during the crime. Lott explained that he was with his fiancée that night, which she confirmed. She also told police that Lott didn’t have a phone at his home and didn’t make any calls on the day of the crime.

Lott agreed to go to the Ada police station to speak with police and participate in a lineup. The other participants were given gold foil to simulate a golden tooth, and couldn’t fully open their mouths due to the foil. As a result, Lott was the only one who could open his mouth fully and was identified as the attacker. Even then, it took the victim 30 minutes to conclude that Lott was her rapist.


He was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 100 years in prison.

In 2014, the victim told an investigator that she had been afraid to pick the wrong man in the lineup, and that nothing specific actually led her to choose Lott.

The only evidence against Lott was the victim’s identification, even though she had described her attacker as being clean shaven when Lott had a mustache.

DNA testing on evidence from the scene conducted in 2014 excluded Lott as the source of the male genetic material found on the victim’s rape kit. Even with this evidence, former District Attorney Paul Smith refused to vacate Lott’s conviction.

In 2018, the DNA evidence was to be presented at a hearing, but two days before, Smith offered Lott a sentence modification that would allow him to leave prison immediately. Lott accepted and was able to return to his family, but the conviction remained on his record.

In 2023, the Innocence Project reached out to newly elected DA Erik Johnson to ask about vacating Lott’s conviction. Johnson’s office conducted a thorough review of the case and granted the exoneration on Tuesday.

“I have never lost hope that this day would come,” Lott said following the exoneration. “I had faith that the truth would prevail — even after 35 long years. I am grateful to everyone who supported me and helped in my fight for freedom. I can finally shut this door and move on with my life.”

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