STORY: "George Perrot: Man who spent 30 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape because of bogus FBI evidence walks free," by reporter Chris Pleasance, reported by the Daily Mail on February 11, 2016.
SUB-HEADINGS: "George Perrot, now 48, was jailed for life for rape and assault in 1987 Perrot, then aged 19, was convicted of raping Mary Prekop, 78, at her home Conviction was based almost entirely on single hair found at the scene after Prekop twice testified that Perrot was not her attacker FBI has since admitted that science used to link hair to Perrot was bogus Perrot's conviction was quashed last month, and he was freed on bail Wednesday Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek a retrial, though judge said it is 'unlikely' they will be able to get a conviction."
GIST: A man who spent 30 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape has been set free today. George Perrot, now 48, was arrested in 1985 aged 17, accused of raping 78-year-old Mary Prekop at her home in Springfield, Massachusetts.Despite Prekop testifying that Perrot was not her attacker, he was convicted two years later largely because of FBI analysis surrounding a single hair found at the crime scene. The FBI has since admitted that its analysis was based on bogus science, leading to Perrot's conviction being overturned last month. At a bail hearing on Wednesday, Judge Robert Kane ruled that Perrot should be allowed to go free. Judge Kane said he is 'reasonably sure' Perrot did not rape Prekop, adding that it is unlikely prosecutors will be able to secure another conviction....Perrot's case dates back to 1985 when a man broke into the home of Mary Prekop before beating and raping her, the latest in a spree of similar attacks in the city of Springfield. Officers arrested Perrot and initially accused him of a string of violent rapes, though DNA evidence and witness testimony excluded him from most of these crimes. He was eventually charged with the rape and beating of Prekop, despite the fact that she failed to pick him out of a lineup. Prekop also repeatedly described her attacker as being clean shaven, while Perrot had a beard and mustache at the time of the attack. She also testified at trial that Perrot, who had grown up in her neighborhood, was not her attacker. The only other piece of evidence linking Perrot to the crime scene was a single hair that DNA analysis showed had the victim's blood on it. At his initial trial, FBI agent Wayne Oakes presented microscopic analysis of the hair found at the crime scene, and told jurors that it had to come from Perrot, and only someone 'with lesser training' would concluded otherwise. Prosecutor Francis Bloom told jurors that the evidence was so strong, the only way that Perrot could be innocent was if police had planted a strand of hair at the scene. Perrot also signed a confession in which he admitted breaking into Prekop's house, but was interviewed without any attorney or parent present, despite being a minor... Bloom was also found to have fabricated a confession from Perrot and forged his signature on it, alongside that of a detective, to pressure two teens into confessing that they helped during the break-in and rape. Perrot was granted a second trial and but was convicted again largely due to evidence surrounding the hair, with his original sentence reinstated in 2003. Since that second conviction, microscopic hair analysis has been shown as a bogus science when conducted without other fail-safes, such as DNA testing. The FBI itself has acknowledged that nearly every examiner in that forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence. In 2014 the agency wrote to Perrot saying there had been errors in the expert testimony in his case, which formed the basis for another appeal in September last year. Perrot's conviction was overturned on September 24, with Judge Kane saying that ‘justice may not have been done because of the introduction of evidence that exceeded the foundational science.' Kane also criticized agent Oakes saying he 'departed from his role as a neutral expert and slipped into the role of a partisan for the government.' Prosecutor Bloom was also blasted by Kane, who said Bloom 'despised Perrot' as shown in diary entries in which he called Perrot 'inherently evil' and 'a sociopath.' Perrot's case for a new trial was championed by lawyers from The Innocence Project and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University in Waltham.