Judge frees Muncie rape convict after tests reveal different man’s DNA

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William Barnhouse walks out of court a free man. (Photo courtesy of Muncie Star Press.)

MUNCIE, Ind.— A central Indiana man who spent nearly 25 years in prison has left a courthouse a free man after a judge granted a motion setting aside his 1992 convictions for rape and criminal deviate conduct.

Delaware Circuit Judge Kimberly Dowling freed 60-year-old William E. Barnhouse on Wednesday. Prosecutors and attorneys with the Innocence Project filed the joint motion after recent DNA tests showed another man’s semen was on the pants and inside a 1992 Muncie sexual assault victim.

The Innocence Project has exonerated more than 300 convicted felons through DNA results. Attorney Seema Saifee told Dowling the case was made more tragic because Barnhouse has suffered from mental illness.

The Star Press reports prosecutors would decide in coming weeks on whether to bring Barnhouse to trial a second time.

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