Wrongly convicted man free after spending 17 years in prison

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Standing in front of reporters Nathan Brown got to hold his two-year-old grandson for the first time. Early Wednesday morning, a Jefferson Parrish court cleared the rape conviction and dismissed the charges against Brown. He had been incarcerated nearly 17 years for an attempted rape that new DNA evidence now proves he didn’t commit.

He told the media it was no easy task being in prison for 17 years for something he had no knowledge of. “You didn’t know who did it. And you were just sitting there, and all you could do was just pray. And just hope that God prevail, that God would send a savior.”

Nathan said the first thing he wants to do is eat some ribs with his family.

In 1997, a woman living in Brown’s apartment complex identified him as the man who tried to rape her. Despite having an alibi, Brown was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole for the crime of attempted aggravated rape.

Brown, who always maintained his innocence, sought the help of the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project, co-chaired attorney Barry Scheck obtained DNA evidence from the victim’s dress and found it did not match Brown’s DNA. But rather matched to a man convicted of a felony in Mississippi and, at the time of the crime, was a 17-year-old living within blocks of the complex where the victim was attacked, according to a release by the Innocence Project.

In May, 61-year-old Reginald Adams walked out of criminal court after being convicted of murder twice and spending 34-years behind bars.