A black man was cleared of a rape charge after spending 47 years behind bars after the white victim of the attack admitted she might have identified the wrong person.
A judge vacated Tyrone Clark’s 1974 conviction for raping Anne Kane on Tuesday, just a day after another black man wrongly accused of raping author Alice Sebold was exonerated.
Clark gave his first interview to DailyMail.com on Thursday, a day after leaving prison, saying: ‘I’m so happy to be out. I can’t think about the past. I just have to try to move on and take it one day at a time. I thank God for answering my prayers that I got out, because I didn’t think I was going to get out.’
Clark also shared his sympathy for Anthony Broadwater, 61, who spent 16 years behind bars for the rape of The Lovely Bones author Seabold. Broadwater was exonerated by a court on Wednesday – the day after Clark was cleared – after he too was revealed to have been the victim of an identification mix-up.
Clark said of Broadwater: ‘One year is a lot taken out of a person’s life.’
Tyrone Clark walked out of prison Wednesday after a judge vacated his 1974 rape conviction
‘I was telling the guys when I left the prison that there are a lot of innocent men in the same situation as in my shoes. And I promised I’m not going to leave them behind.
‘The injustice in society is very messed up.’
Clark, 66, was freed after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine Roach said there was no indication DNA on victim Kane’s clothing – considered critical evidence in the case – was preserved by investigators in 1973 following the rape in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
The handle of a knife used in the assault was also compromised by being touched throughout the past four decades as the victim came forward with ‘genuine concerns’ regarding the accuracy of her identification nearly 50 years go.
The case marks the second time in the past week that a black man has been exonerated after being wrongfully imprisoned for rape; a man convicted of raping award-winning author Alice Sebold 40 years ago was freed Monday.
Clark was 18 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the rape of Anne Kane, 23, who was attacked at knifepoint by a stranger who broke into her Back Bay apartment in 1973
Anthony Broadwater, 61, spent 16 years behind bars for the 1981 rape that was the focus of Sebold’s career-making 1999 memoir Lucky.
Clark walked out of North Central Correctional Institute in Gardner on Wednesday afternoon without any identification, no bank account, phone, or working knowledge of the Internet.
Clark (right) was taken in by Jerry Brogna (left) who started a boarding facility called Christopher’s House in honor of his son who passed away in 2007
His lawyer, Jeff Harris, drove him to a restaurant to enjoy his first dinner as a free man: chicken with onion rings, fried potatoes, soda, and dessert.
On Thanksgiving Day, Clark was set to have dinner with Jerry Brogna, a stranger who took him in.
‘He’s an angel from God,’ Clark said. ‘He gave me clothes and stuff and all that I needed. The day of my release, I had nowhere to go and this guy opened his house for me.’
Brogna founded a boarding facility called Christopher’s House following the death of his 23-year-old son in 2007 and took Clark in after being contacted by the former inmate’s social worker.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed a motion in September supporting Clark’s petition for a new trial.
He’s now trying to help Clark navigate a world that’s changed drastically since his 1973 conviction.
‘I had a room available and it grew from there,’ Brogna told DailyMail.com. ‘We’re bound together now and going forward to make sure he understands what’s happening out here. A lot of things are changing.’
Clark spent nearly 50 years in prison after he was convicted of raping and kidnapping Anne Kane, 23, in June 1973, after someone broke into her Back Bay apartment and raped her at knifepoint.
Clark, who was 18 at the time, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
He was let out in 2005 but sent back to jail within a year after violating the conditions of his parole for stealing clothing and food, he said.
His mother and other relatives died while he was imprisoned a second time, and he said he’s now trying to track down where his mom is buried.
‘It’s kind of sad because I want to go visit my mother and the rest of my family that passed away,’ he said, fighting back tears. ‘I just want to find my mother so I can go visit her.’
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins in September filed a motion supporting Clark’s petition for a new trial after Kane claimed she mistakenly identified him.
According to the letter, Kane stated: ‘I am no longer absolutely sure that my identification was correct.’
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said evidence in Clark’s case was destroyed
Kane, who is a white woman, said she trusted the courts to provide a fair trial at the time, but now sees the overwhelming flaws within the criminal justice system.
She argues that because she didn’t know any black people at the time, her ability to properly identify her assailant was affected.
Rollins filed a nolle prosequi on Wednesday, formally ending Clark’s rape case.
‘This case came to my office’s attention after the victim, unsolicited, raised serious doubts about her identification of the defendant,’ Rollins said in a press release. ‘When we began looking further into the case, we learned that nearly half a century ago, the Commonwealth lost or destroyed evidence that had the potential to be exculpatory.
‘Both the defendant and this administration have been denied the opportunity to perform modern forensic testing due the failure of previous administrations to maintain that DNA evidence. The Commonwealth should never benefit from our failures and wrongdoings.’
In a similar case this week, Broadwater was freed after a producer working on a Netflix adaptation of the writer’s memoir noticed inconsistencies in the story, hired a private investigator to look into it and sent the case back to court. wrote in the memoir how she was raped in a tunnel by a black man when she was a 19-year-old first year student at Syracuse University in 1981. The book sold over 1million copies.
Sebold (left) is pictured in 2018, left. Producer Tim Mucciante (right) who was working on an adaptation of her bestseller Lucky before dropping out to dig deeper into the case
Broadwater was convicted in 1982 after Sebold, now 59, identified him as her rapist in court. She had walked past him in the street months after the attack, then told police that was her rapist, but she didn’t know his name.
It was only when a cop gave Broadwater’s name because he had been in the area at the time that he was roped into the investigation.
In a police line-up, she picked the man standing next to him.
Anthony Broadwater (pictured outside the courthouse in Syracuse on Monday), who spent 16 years in prison, was cleared Monday by a judge of raping author Alice Sebold when she was a student at Syracuse University, an assault she wrote about in her 1999 memoir, ‘Lucky’
But Broadwater was still tried and in court, Sebold did pick him. The other piece of evidence that convicted him was hair analysis – but the technique used has long been considered unreliable by the DoJ.
Broadwater was released from prison in 1999, the year the book came out. He lived a quiet life afterwards, working as a trash hauler and marrying but refusing to have children because he didn’t want them to have to live with the ‘stigma’ of his rape conviction.
He said he was treated as a pariah because he was on the sex offenders’ registry.
Sebold’s career, in the meantime, soared.
In 2002, she published The Lovely Bones – another story based around child kidnap and rape. It sold over 5million copies in America alone, grossing $60million in sales, and was turned into a blockbuster Hollywood movie in 2009 starring Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci and Mark Wahlberg.
Clark spent nearly 50 years inside the North Central Correctional Institute in Gardner
Despite all he’s been through, Clark said he’s thankful that the rape victim in his case ultimately came forward with concerns about a wrongful conviction.
‘It took a lot of courage to do what she did,’ he said. ‘God bless, even though it took so long for her to come forward, I still forgive her. I never attacked her, I never committed this crime. I’ve held my innocence for 50 years.’
A GoFundMe for Clark had raised nearly $6,000 as of early Thursday afternoon.