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Crime & Courts

DNA testing clears Wyoming man of decades-old rape, lawyers say

Lawyers with the Utah-based Rocky Mountain Innocence Center say new DNA testing proves the innocence of a man who has served more than 23 years in prison on a Wyoming rape conviction.

Cheyenne lawyer Aaron J. Lyttle filed a request for a new trial for 63-year-old Andrew J. Johnson on Tuesday. Johnson, who has maintained his innocence, is serving a life sentence at the state prison in Rawlins on the 1989 conviction.

Lyttle stated that DNA testing proves Johnson didn't commit the crime. Lyttle says he expects that Johnson will receive a new trial.

Lyttle says it's also possible that Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar will drop the charges against Johnson.

Homar, however, told The Star Tribune that the DNA test results "do not dispose of the case."

The district attorney told the paper that the new results certainly favor Johnson, but "we must look at the totality of the evidence as a whole."

Attempts by to reach Homar for comment on Thursday were unsuccessful. His office said he will release a statement on the case soon.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the court ruled that the victim identified Johnson as the attacker. The two had been drinking at local bars in Cheyenne before the incident, the report said.

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