Sex Crimes

Virginia man wrongfully convicted of attempted rape is pardoned after 29 years in prison

This Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the Virginia Deptment of Corrections shows Michael Kenneth McAlister. Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, pardoned a Virginia man who has spent 29 years in prison for an attempted rape that authorities now say he did not commit. (Virginia Deptment of Corrections via AP)

This Aug. 22, 2013 photo provided by the Virginia Deptment of Corrections shows Michael Kenneth McAlister. Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, pardoned a Virginia man who has spent 29 years in prison for an attempted rape that authorities now say he did not commit. (Virginia Deptment of Corrections via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has pardoned a Virginia man who has spent 29 years in prison for an attempted rape that Richmond's chief prosecutor and others say he didn't commit.

Wednesday's pardon comes five days before a scheduled hearing that could have resulted in Michael McAlister being held indefinitely under Virginia's civil commitment law for treatment as a violent sex offender.

McAuliffe said in a written statement that overwhelming evidence shows McAlister is innocent.

McAlister was convicted of the February 1986, abduction and attempted rape of a woman who was dragged at knifepoint from an apartment complex laundry room. The victim identified McAlister as the attacker from a photo lineup that did not include a picture of a serial rapist who is now believed to be the real perpetrator.