Meet the Exonerees

Lafonso Rollins

State: Illinois
Date of Birth: 1977
Incident Date: 1994
Age at Arrest: 17
Conviction Date: 1994
Age When Exonerated: 28
Exonerated Date: 2004
Time Served: 11
Conviction: rape
False Confession: Yes
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

Brought in for questioning about a string of robberies and rapes because he matched an artist’s sketch of the suspect, seventeen-year-old Lafonso Rollins was “scared to death.” Though he maintained his innocence, he was convicted based largely on a confession that he signed but did not write himself. After police officers began to beat him, he agreed to sign four statements admitting to various crimes, which included two sexual assaults. Rollins was sentenced to seventy-five years in prison for the rape of a seventy-eight year old woman. In 2004, Rollins filed for DNA testing. The results excluded Rollins from the crime and from the other sexual assault, of which Rollins had been charged but not convicted. Based on the results, the public defender's office and the prosecutor's offices filed to vacate the conviction, and Rollins was exonerated in 2004. Lafonso spent nearly eleven years in prison.