Falsely accused of rape and robbery

Thursday, August 12th 2004, 5:47 am
By: News On 6

A Muskogee man wrongly accused of rape and robbery has been vindicated. He says he's thankful to be home with his wife and kids.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against 40-year old Victor Livingston. Livingston was arrested Christmas Eve at his home after a woman who saw him shopping in a store identified him as her attacker.

The News on 6’s Heather Lewin talked with the Livingston’s about their ordeal.

For Victor and Oweta Livingston the news of the charges being dropped meant the nightmare they'd been living for the past 7 months was over. "I knew I didn't do it so I didn't know what to do I just didn't know what to do." It was when Victor was out on bail facing charges in the first case of mistaken identity, that another woman came forward and accused him of rape. “They put me back in. I actually think if they would've done a thorough investigation on this they would've found out there was no way, but I think it was at Christmas time and they were more concerned about their holidays and their families and they were concerned about a man who's just been accused of doing something."

Victor’s wife Oweta: "We felt like we couldn't trust the judicial system this far how were we going to trust them to put it before a jury trial. We're talking about 12 people that didn't know my husband."

Victor: "You know, I knew they were gonna send me away for a long time and I knew that I didn't wanna take my wife through that. I was saying well, if you have to go to jail, you're gonna have to divorce your wife cause you don't need to be taking your family through this. You're just gonna have to let her go on. I never told her that."

As Victor sat in jail his attorney reviewed the evidence and was shocked by the inconsistencies. One victim gave a physical description that was far from a match and couldn't identify Victor in two separate lineups. Then there's the timeline, when the first assault happened, Victor was leaving work on the other side of town.

Victor’s attorney Larry Moore: "Absolutely impossible, impossible. It was undisputed fact that was entered into evidence that he clocked out at 7 o'clock. We had witnesses that clocked out with him that walked to the parking lot with him." When the facts continued to point away from Victor, the prosecutor realized they had the wrong man. But even though he's been cleared, the horrible accusations still haunt him. "I don't know how to feel anymore I don't know what to do, because people are always gonna think what they wanna think.”

Oweta: "If it had been a white man I think they would've at least investigated it. It played a part; I think it played a part." Victor: "I don't think my life will ever be the same. I think my love for my faith and what I believe in will keep me going on. But how you trust people how do you open yourself up?"

Victor Livingston says he bears no resentment toward his accusers and believes they just made a mistake. Prosecutors say they already have people of interest in both cases and that the two crimes appear to be unrelated.

The Livingston’s both grew up in Muskogee. They hoped to raise there children there. But they say it's likely they'll move away and try to get a fresh start.