Image: Roy Brown
Tyler Hicks  /  Redux Pictures file
Roy Brown was convicted Jan. 23, 1992, of beating and strangling Sabina Kulakowski, a social worker who was bitten repeatedly by an attacker who dragged her several hundred feet from the farmhouse where she lived in the Finger Lakes town of Aurelius.
updated 1/23/2007 11:27:28 PM ET 2007-01-24T04:27:28

Two inmates — a convicted rapist in Georgia and a man who was unjustly convicted of murder in New York but helped find the real killer from his prison cell — were granted their freedom Tuesday after DNA tests proved their innocence.

Innocence Project co-director Peter Neufeld said he had never seen a case like that of Roy Brown, whose 1992 murder conviction was thrown out by a judge.

"Armed only with a notebook, stamps and a copy of the state's Freedom of Information Law, Roy Brown identified the true perpetrator from a prison cell," said Nina Morrison, an attorney at the Innocence Project.

‘Could have saved me all this hell’
Frail from severe liver disease, Brown said bitterly at a news conference after his release: "This was an abortion, an abortion of justice. They could have saved me all this hell."

Brown, 46, was convicted of stabbing and strangling Sabina Kulakowski. He was found guilty mostly on the strength of bite marks on her nude body that a prosecution witness linked to Brown.

After appeals were rejected, Brown filed a Freedom of Information request four years ago and paid $28.50 for copies of all the documents in his case. He found four affidavits relating to Barry Bench, the brother of Kulakowski's ex-boyfriend.

Neither Brown nor his lawyers had previously seen the affidavits, which convinced Brown that Bench was the killer. Brown sent a letter from prison to Bench in 2003, accusing him of the murder. Several days later, Bench committed suicide by stepping in front of a train.

Cayuga County District Attorney James B. Vargason ordered Bench's body exhumed to extract DNA, and said new tests showed that Bench's DNA was on the red T-shirt investigators believe Kulakowski was wearing the night she was killed in 1991.

Nearly half his life in prison for rape
In Georgia, Willie O. "Pete" Williams, 44, became a free man Tuesday night after spending nearly nearly half his life in prison for rape.

Williams was convicted in a 1985 attack on a woman at an apartment complex parking lot. The woman identified him as her attacker, but DNA tests on genetic material from a rape kit examination cleared Williams.

"We are convinced today Mr. Williams was not responsible for this," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said.

His attorney said he plans to take Williams and his family out for a steak dinner.

"I just think it's absolutely phenomenal for Pete," Bruce Harvey said. "It's redemption for him, and a continuing indictment of a system that relies almost entirely, in these kinds of cases, on evidence that we now know is the least reliable type of evidence available: eyewitness identification."

After being taken to Atlanta from a south Georgia prison, he emerged from the Fulton County jail about 10 p.m., saying he was looking forward to eating steak and potatoes and "just living the rest of my life."

"I can't even explain," he said when asked how it felt to be free.

Williams and Brown become the 193rd and 194th convicts nationwide exonerated through DNA testing, according to the Innocence Project.

"Changes got to be made in the justice system," Brown said before leaving to eat a lasagna dinner with his family. "The wheels are flat. There's more innocent people like me."

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