Meet the Exonerees

Wilton Dedge

State: Florida
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 08-Dec-81
Age at Arrest: 20
Conviction Date: 20-Sep-82
Age When Exonerated: 42
Exonerated Date: 11-Aug-04
Time Served: 22
Conviction: Sexual battery, aggravated battery, burglary
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: Yes

Case Details

Wilton Dedge was barely twenty years old when he was arrested for the rape of a seventeen year old woman. The victim incorrectly identified Wilton, who is about 5'5", with her attacker, who she estimated at 6' tall. The prosecution attributed the discrepancy to tall boots, and used unreliable evidence and junk science to convince the jury of Wilton's guilt, even though he was fifty miles away at the time of the incident. Wilton was sentenced to thirty years in prison, but was granted a retrial in 1984. A prison snitch, Clarence Zacke, testified against Wilton, saying that Wilton had confessed to him, leading to another conviction and a sentence of life imprisonment. Wilton had been seeking DNA testing on evidence since 1988, but his requests were repeatedly denied. Finally, in 2004, DNA testing proved Wilton's innocence and he was set free after twenty-two years in prison. On December 8, 2005, Wilton was granted $2 million compensation from the State of Florida.