|Date / Location:||1991, Chesapeake Beach Maryland||Conviction:||Murder in the first degree, rape in the first degree|
|Year of Conviction:||1992||Release Date:||Feb-99|
|Sentence:||Two Life Sentences||Sentence Served:||7 years|
|Real perpetrator found?:||Yes||Contributing cause to wrongful conviction:||Incentivized tesimony, false confession|
Anthony Gray had spent seven years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit before finally being released in February 1999.
In 1991, 38-year-old Linda Mae Pellicano was found stabbed and raped in her Chesapeake Beach, MD home. Anthony Gray was arrested, and authorities told him that two other men who had been arrested had implicated him, in order to make him confess. Gray, who has a below-average IQ, did confess, and eventually pleaded guilty to first degree murder and first degree rape, believing that it would allow him to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences, while the other two men were not found guilty.
Five years later, in 1997, police arrested a man named Anthony Fleming for breaking and entering. Hoping for a plea deal in that case, Fleming talked to police about details of the Pellicano murder that were never publicized, which aroused suspicion that he had been involved. DNA testing of the semen from the crime scene confirmed a match with Fleming, who then pled guilty to the 1991 rape and murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.
After Fleming was arrested, Calvert County State's Attorney Robert Riddle, who had long expressed doubts about Gray’s innocence, spent fifteen months making sure that Gray could not have been an accomplice. Anthony Gray remained in prison during this time until February 8, 1999, when he walked out of the Calvert County, Md. courthouse a free man.
Like most exonerees, Gray has sought out compensation from the government, but according to a Maryland statute, the Board of Public Works cannot award any money unless the wrongfully convicted person first receives a pardon from the governor. Gray has not yet been pardoned, so he has yet to receive compensation for his eight years spent in prison.