July 24, 2017
In 1981, a woman was brutally attacked on the roof of a parking garage in Chicago. She was beaten, raped, robbed, and forced into the trunk of her car. Two employees recognized her car as it was leaving the garage and attempted to stop the assailant from driving away, but the perpetrator escaped on foot, leaving the victim locked in the trunk. Based only on a composite drawing and description of the assailant, both of which were created based on the memory of the parking garage employees, a Chicago Police Department officer accused Jerry Miller of the crime, claiming that he had seen Mr. Miller looking in a parked car’s window some days prior. The two garage employees both identified Mr. Miller in a lineup, but the victim said that she couldn’t positively identify her assailant because he had threatened to kill her if she didn’t keep her eyes closed. Mr. Miller and his father both testified that they were watching a pay-per-view boxing match at the time of the crime, but despite his alibi and the total lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime, in 1982 Jerry Miller was convicted of rape, kidnapping, and robbery. It wasn’t until 2005, when the Innocence Project took on Mr. Miller’s case, that the victim’s clothes were subjected to DNA testing, yielding a profile that excluded Mr. Miller. In 2007, Jerry Miller was exonerated, having spent 25 years in prison for a rape that he didn’t commit. He is joined by Maurice Possley, Senior Researcher at the National Registry of Exonerations and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who has written about, investigated and consulted on issues involving criminal justice for more than 30 years.