Ky. Prisoner Freed on DNA Evidence

Thursday, July 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man imprisoned on a rape conviction seven years ago was freed based on new DNA testing.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Barry Willett on Wednesday vacated William Gregory's 1993 convictions for rape and attempted rape and ordered a new trial for the onetime Sears salesman.

``I just thank God that I am free,'' Gregory said. ``The nightmare is over.'' He said he planned to have a pasta dinner to celebrate his freedom.

Gregory became the first person in Kentucky released from prison based on new DNA evidence.

Dave Stengel, Jefferson County commonwealth's attorney, said prosecutors needed to review evidence before deciding whether to drop charges, but it was unlikely that Gregory would be retried.

Gregory, 52, was serving a 70-year sentence. He was convicted of rape and attempted rape in attacks on two women in 1992.

Gregory's freedom followed tests showing that hairs found in a stocking worn by the attacker did not belong to Gregory. The hairs were key evidence in Gregory's 1993 trial.

``I was innocent from the very beginning,'' Gregory said. ``I'm innocent now and DNA has proven it.''

Gregory received help from the Innocence Project, which relies on new genetic tests to revisit old convictions.