K’vaughn Hines, 19, spent more than four months in prison charged with first-degree rape and other related charges. He was charged in a gang rape near the Greenbelt Metro Station in Maryland on December 17, 2011.
During the investigation, DNA testing excluded him as the perpetrator. It cleared his record as of June 29. So now he can go back to living his old life, right? Turns out, not at all.
Like catching a disease early, reliable evidence prevented the horrible effects wrongful imprisonment could have had on Hines’ young life; yet, it still has made a significant impact on the way he has to go about his life. Probably for the rest of his life.
During the five months of imprisonment and house arrest, Hines lost his job, apartment, and dog. While in prison, he faced death threats and fights. In coming to grips with the potential of life imprisonment, he pondered suicide. Some of his family members and friends did not believe in his innocence. Some of them are still wary, even with the affirmation of DNA evidence. Some people just cannot look at him the same way.
Hines is facing the challenge of rebuilding his life. He is working again and living with his grandma.
Obviously, we would hope that no one is ever wrongfully arrested. But in the event they are, we are thankful, as this story shows, diligent and thorough criminal investigations, including DNA testing, move us closer to the accurate and just result earlier in the process. We hope that DNA testing will be used to prove innocence before even a month in prison unjustly corrupts an innocent life.
Read the full article from The Gazette.