DENVER — The Denver District Attorney’s Office has decided to retry a man who was initially convicted of raping a woman in 1987. Jury selection in the new trial began Friday.
Clarence Moses-EL was released from prison in December after serving 28 years when another man confessed to the sexual assault.
Moses-EL was never acquitted. He will be retried for the same crime, but dozens of activist groups are asking the district attorney to cancel the trial.
“We are standing here with a cry for justice.” Rev. Patrick Demmer said.
Representatives from several activist groups gathered downtown Friday to protest the retrial. They signed a petition to have the retrial stopped.
“He has shown his worthiness, the charges were never true. They were never true,” said Tammy Garrett-Williams, an NAACP representative.
A woman was raped and severely beaten in 1987 in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. After having a dream that it was Clarence Moses-EL who raped her, he was convicted and sentenced to 48 years behind bars.
Moses-EL maintained his innocence while in prison and raised money for a DNA test to prove it. Police accidentally destroyed the test, but a judge later overturned the sentence and released Moses-EL in December.
“I just feel really great. I mean, I’m kind of lost for words but I feel really great,” he said then.
But less than a year later, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey called for a second trial. Now, thousands of community members disagree with the call.
Protesters believe Moses-EL is innocent because of lack of evidence. They claim prosecutors failed to investigate another man that confessed to the crime.
“It is time for Morrissey to let this go, to stop wasting our time and our money and let this man live his life,” said Amanda Henderson with Interfaith Alliance of Colorado.
Representatives from the district attorney’s office said they can acknowledge the signatures on the petition but can’t comment otherwise.
“It will be a public trial. Citizens are welcome to sit in and listen to the trial unfold first hand, but it will be decided by 12 jurors,” spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said.