James Bain has a remarkable attitude after being wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 35 years in Florida.
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On December 17, 2009, James Bain was freed from prison after postconviction DNA testing proved his innocence of a 1974 rape and kidnapping. At the time of his release, Bain’s 35 years spent in prison was the longest time served by any of the DNA exonerees nationwide.
Late on the night of March 4, 1974, the victim was taken from his bedroom through a window to a nearby field and raped by an unknown male. When the victim returned home, he was wearing only a white t-shirt and jockey underwear. The police collected his underwear and sent it to the FBI for serological testing.
Bain became a suspect after the victim described his assailant and the victim’s uncle stated that the man he was describing sounded like James Bain, who he knew as a student at the high school where he was assistant principal. After his uncle mentioned the name, the victim adopted Bain as the rapist. When the police arrived at Bain’s house around midnight on March 5, 1974, Bain was at home with his sister where he had been since around 10:30pm. Although James Bain had an alibi, never confessed to the crime, and always maintained his innocence, police arrested him.
At the Trial –
The State’s case was based largely on serology on the underwear performed by the FBI and the victim’s identification of Bain as his assailant. The underwear itself was admitted at trial as State’s Exhibit #1. Contrary to the FBI testimony, a defense expert testified at trial that the serological results revealed that Bain could not have been the depositor of the semen on the victim’s underwear. In addition, there was testimony regarding Bain’s alibi presented at trial and the eye-witness testimony of the nine-year-old.
Fudged FBI Serology: Serology testing performed pre-trial by the FBI on the victim’s underwear verified that the rapist did deposit semen on the victim’s underwear and sperm heads were seen on the underwear by the FBI at that time. FBI analyst, William A. Gavin, testified that the semen on the underwear was blood group B, that Bain’s blood group was AB (with a weak A), and that Bain could not be excluded as the depositer of the semen. DNA results now prove this FBI testimony to be patently false.
Defense’s Medical Expert on Serology: Dr. Richard Jones, a defense expert, testified at trial that Bain’s blood group was AB (with a strong A) leading to his conclusion, contrary to the FBI’s, that Bain could not have deposited the semen on the victim’s underwear. DNA results now prove Dr. Jones’ conclusion to be true.
Jamie submitted handwritten motions four times seeking DNA testing, but he was denied each time. He was denied the fifth time, too, but an appeals court overturned that denial. The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) stepped in to assist Mr. Bain, and he was finally able to get the DNA testing he’d wanted for so many years. Bob Young, General Counsel for the Tenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender, acted as co-counsel. The State Attorney agreed to the testing and it was sent to DNA Diagnostics Center, a private laboratory in Fairfield, Ohio. Testing on DNA of sperm found on the child’s underwear worn during the rape excluded James Bain as the donor of the sperm, confirming that someone other than Bain raped the victim.
On December 17, 2009, in a joint order James Bain was declared actually innocent and released from prison. He walked out of the courthouse with members of his family and his legal team. Immediately upon his release, Bain used a cell phone for the first time to called his mother in Tampa, Florida. Bain spent 35 years in prison.