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Story of Hope: Archie Williams

Story from ODM. Image from etonline.com

You may have read or heard about the American Singer, Archie Charles Williams, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On December 9, 1982, a 31-year-old woman heard a knock on her door. She went to check the door in innocence only to encounter a man who forced the door open and entered her house.

She was raped, stabbed in her chest, and abandoned by this strange fellow. While all this was happening, Archie Williams, who was 22 years old then, was sleeping at home. The police stepped in to investigate the case. The rape victim while still in hospital on December 15 of the same year, said that her attacker was 5’9 to 5’11 inches tall. She also helped the police to create a sketch of the attacker.

Several people were brought before her to identify who her attacker was, including Archie Williams. Multiple times in the line-up, the woman couldn’t identity Archie. As the story went, she was encouraged and urged by the police to point Archie out as her assailant. Despite the weak evidence, on April 21, 1983, the jury convicted Archie Williams, a black man, of attempted murder, aggravated rape, and aggravated battery.

He was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment without the possibility of parole. While in prison, something worked for Archie; he never gave up hope of gaining freedom someday. He told everyone who cared to hear his story about his innocence. Hear his words, “I know, that if only one of the people picked up my case and read it, they would know that I’m not guilty. I am innocent.

If I could get a DNA test, it would prove my innocence. After about 11 years behind bars, the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization that works for overturning wrongful convictions through the use of DNA testing, picked up his case in 1985. It re-examined the case, and in 1986 filed a motion for DNA testing. After several intrigues, Archie Williams was set free on March 21, 2019, after spending about 37 years in prison for a crime he never committed.

In one of his interviews, he told his interviewer, “My body was in the prison, but my mind was not there. Life can sometimes be very cruel as seen in this story. There are, however, attitudes that we put up that can help us weather the storms of life. Never give up hope. Share this message of hope.

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