updated 4/15/2008 8:30:59 PM ET 2008-04-16T00:30:59

A Detroit man who served 12 years in prison for rape was freed after DNA tests cleared him of the crime.

Authorities on Monday dropped charges against 29-year-old Nathaniel Hatchett. He had received a 25- to 40-year sentence after being convicted of raping, carjacking, kidnapping and robbing a woman in 1996.

Detroit police found Hatchett driving the woman's car and arrested him. He admitted stealing the car after it had been sitting near his house for a couple of days but said police duped him into confessing to other crimes.

Hatchett was freed in part through DNA evidence with help from the Cooley Innocence Project at Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.

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