Oklahoma Man Imprisoned 26 Years Released Following DNA Evidence
Oklahoma City, OK - An Oklahoma City man convicted in the killing of a homeless man in 1992 was released from jail Monday after the judge dismissed the charges.
Judge Glenn M. Jones dismissed the charges based on new DNA evidence proving the innocence of Johnny Edward Tallbear.
Johnny Tallbear was convicted and sentenced to life in prison following the murder of a homeless man known as "Pops" in downtown Oklahoma City on October 3, 1991. The transient was found badly beaten and stabbed in an abandoned downtown house.
According top prosecutors at the time, the victim was killed for "pure meanness." The medical examiner testified that the victim's face had been severely beaten with glass bottles and blunt objects.
Tallbear, who always maintained his innocence for the past 26 years, sought the help of the Innocence Project.
With the consent of the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office, the Innocence Project conducted DNA testing on the bloody bags that police believed were used to stop bleeding and blood found on the inside out pockets of the victim’s pants.
The testing identified DNA belonging to the one unknown male in blood found on two pieces of the collected bags and DNA belonging to another unknown male in the blood found on the victim’s pockets.
Tallbear was excluded from all of the profiles.
“We are grateful to District Attorney David Prater and Assistant District Attorney Jen Hinsperger for collaborating with us to secure DNA testing in this case, and for expeditiously moving to vacate Mr. Tallbear’s conviction once the results were obtained,” said Karen Thompson, a senior staff attorney with the Innocence Project.
“The DNA proving Mr. Tallbear’s innocence was pivotal to bringing an end to his wrongful incarceration," Thompson said.