David A. Gray

Alibi discounted, victim and snitch believed

Ann Brewer, a 58-year-old Caucasian woman, identified David A. Gray from a photo array as the African-American man who raped, robbed, and stabbed her 33 times in her Alton home in 1978.

Although a fingerprint on a motorcycle Brewer said her attacker had touched was not Gray's and although Gray had an alibi — several witnesses said he was at work when the crime occurred, claims corroborated by his time sheet — he was charged and twice tried for the crime.

At the first trial, Brewer's identification testimony was the only evidence purporting to link Gray the crime. That trial ended in a hung jury. At the second trial, the prosecution called an additional witness — a paid informant who testified that Gray had admitted being present when Brewer was attacked. This time, an all-white jury found the 25-year-old Gray guilty.

He was sentenced to 60 years and had served 20 when he won a new trial in 1998, after DNA testing excluded him and Brewer's husband as the source of semen recovered from a bed sheet on which the rape had occurred. Gray was released in 1998.

— Rob Warden