Man who spent 18 years in Pennsylvania jail freed after DNA test

Prosecutors joined defense attorneys in seeking freedom for Thomas Doswell, 44, who has spent nearly 18 years in jail for a rape that DNA test shows he didn't commit.

A hearing was set on a motion filed by Allegheny County prosecutors asking Judge John Zottola to free Doswell.

DNA evidence in the case was retested by the nonprofit Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law in New York.

"These tests confirmed what Mr. Doswell has been saying from the moment he was charged, that he was innocent and that this was a misidentification brought about by police officers who may have engaged in misconduct," said Colin Starger of the Innocence Project.

Doswell, of Homewood, was convicted in the 1986 rape of a 48-year-old woman at a hospital in Pittsburgh. He was 25 and the father of two young children when he was convicted.

He was sentenced to 13 to 26 years in prison and was denied parole four times because he refused to accept responsibility for the crime.

Witnesses had picked out Doswell's photo among a group of eight shown to them by police.

At the time, Pittsburgh police identified mug shots of people charged with rape with the letter "R." Doswell insisted witnesses identified him as the rapist only because the letter "R" appeared under his mug shot.

His photo was marked because an ex-girlfriend had accused him of rape, but he was acquitted of that charge.

Police officials say they no longer mark photos of rape suspects with an "R.", the AP reports.

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