An innocent man who spent 19 years in jail after two police officers claimed he had raped a woman before shooting them has finally been freed.
Termaine Joseph Hicks, who was working as a Popeye’s assistant manager at that time of the incident, was near the St. Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia when he heard a woman screaming for help.
The woman was on her way to work when an armed man dragged her into an alley and raped her, according to reports.
Hicks immediately ran to the alley to help the woman but the rapist immediately fled the scene after being startled by headlights from a car driving nearby.
But when police officers Dennis Zungolo and Marvin Vinson arrived, they presumed Hicks had attacked the woman as she could not identify the attacker and had suffered a head injury.
The cops also claimed that the innocent man had opened fire on them so they shot him in self-defense.
Hicks, who just wanted to help the woman, was convicted of rape, possessing an instrument of crime, aggravated assault, and terroristic threats. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
This week, Hicks’ conviction was finally overturned by the Conviction Integrity Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
CIU chief Patricia Cummings said: “False testimony was used, and I believe it’s impossible to say that did not contribute to the conviction.”
The cops’ story was also not consistent with Hicks’ injuries.
Hicks’ attorneys say he never opened fire at the cops and claim the officers only made up that story to justify shooting him in the back. They even planted a gun on him.
It was later discovered that the weapon belonged to another officer who had never reported it missing.
On Wednesday, Hicks was finally freed from jail. It is not clear whether he plans to sue the police department or the two officers.
“I feel 100 pounds lighter,” he expressed. “It’s unfortunate and sad that it took how long it took for me to clear my name. I’ve been saying the same thing since day one…
“The things that are promised to citizens should be delivered: a fair trial, and a fair look at what’s being presented.”
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, both of the police officers remained employed by the department.
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