Man Exonerated By DNA Evidence After 16 Years In Prison

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
composite sketches of teardrop rapistcomposite sketches of teardrop rapist

Luis Lorenzo Vargas, 46, has been in prison for the last 16 years.

After serving time for raping a girlfriend, Vargas was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl and attacking two others with the intent of sexually assaulting them, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 1999, he was sentenced to 55 years to life.

However, Vargas may soon be freed thanks to DNA evidence that points to the serial Teardrop Rapist as the attacker. 

The Teardrop Rapist, wanted for dozens of sexual assault cases, is still at large.

Vargas’ exoneration may come thanks to the help of the California Innocence Project at the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

“The evidence now shows the prosecution’s case against him was demonstrably false,” lawyers for the project wrote. The evidence reportedly “points unerringly to Vargas’s innocence.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is also calling on Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan to free Vargas, saying it “no longer has confidence in the convictions.”

Though all three victims identified Vargas as their attacker, his coworkers testified that he was working miles away at the time of the attacks.

Vargas has been working to overturn his conviction for some time. In 2012, he asked for an examination of DNA evidence. According to his lawyer, the tests excluded Vargas.

However, a lab compared the DNA profile to that of the Teardrop Rapist, and Michael Semanchik of the California Innocence Project said it was a  “very, very close” match.

Vargas was expected to be exonerated on Nov. 23, according to The Associated Press.

Sources: The Los Angeles Times, AP via Fox News / Photo credit: Los Angeles Police Department - RHD Sexual Assault Series/Facebook