Boise State University

Boise State professor helps free wrongly convicted man

Greg Hampikian waits with Darryl Pinkins’ mother, Mildred, for her son’s release.
Greg Hampikian waits with Darryl Pinkins’ mother, Mildred, for her son’s release. Boise State University

The first exoneration using a DNA analysis program called TrueAllele recently freed Darryl Pinkins in Indiana. He had spent 24 years in prison wrongfully convicted of rape.

DNA analysis by Boise State professor Greg Hampikian, executive director of the Idaho Innocence Project, and Mark Perlin, inventor of the TrueAllele software, provided the scientific evidence for Pinkins’ release.

Hampikian was in Merrillville, Indiana, and had expected to testify at a Monday morning hearing for Pinkins. But after reading the DNA reports by Hampikian and Perlin, the state moved to vacate Pinkins’ conviction and free him immediately.

“It is a horror story that these men were convicted in the first place. The DNA tests ordered by the state in 1990 should have ended it before their trials. These men were excluded by science from the very beginning,” said Hampikian. “I’m glad the state finally came around, but that it took this long is inexcusable. These families have suffered terribly because the state has ignored clear DNA evidence over and over, until this day. Frances Watson and her students are heroes.”

Watson is an Indiana University law professor also involved in the effort.

TrueAllele software allows reanalysis of old DNA results without further laboratory manipulation. TrueAllele has been used in missing person cases, identification of victims from the World Trade Center and by prosecutors in many states. This is the first time it has been used to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.