Unfortunately, the story of Johnny Williams is not uncommon. In 1998, a 9-year-old girl was raped while on her way to school close to MacArthur Boulevard and 82nd Street. She told her mother that the man had called himself “Johnny.” Thinking of the only man with that name that lived in the neighborhood, the girl’s mother led police to Williams and the child identified him at trial. Yet, Williams maintained his innocence, even after spending the last 14 years in the San Diego state prison for the crime and he finally solicited the help of The Innocence Project out of Santa Clara, CA. The group works to free innocent men and women who have been wrongfully imprisoned, with DNA testing among other strategies.
Williams was arrested and subsequently tried in 2000. During this original trial, the young girl’s T-shirt was tested for DNA evidence – and none was found. Despite his protests of innocence, Williams was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child (under the California Penal Code, §288) and of 1 count of rape (under California Penal Code, §261). With the help of The Innocence Project, the girl’s shirt has recently been re-tested and the DNA evidence of semen found there has been determined not to match Williams’s DNA profile. The actual rapist has never been caught.
The sex crime defense attorneys at Summit Defense are supporters of The Innocence Project and are witnesses to this kind of injustice which carried out in the California justice system on a regular basis. Williams, who was on parole when he was exonerated, must now fight to remove his name from the list of sexual offenders, to re-think his opinion of the system, and to regain his former reputation, which has been sullied for so many years.