Photo by Lawrence Jenkins, The Dallas Morning News
On March 18, 2003, Governor Rick Perry granted Wiley Fountain a full pardon based on innocence of the crime of aggravated sexual assault. Fountain had been convicted in 1986 and had served 15 years for an aggravated sexual assault that he did not commit.
On January 15, 1986, the victim, pregnant at the time, was walking from her apartment to a nearby bus stop in Dallas, Texas. She heard footsteps approaching and saw a man walking a few feet behind her. She had seen the man before around her apartment complex, so she continued walking. The man then grabbed her around the neck, displayed a knife, and dragged her to a nearby driveway. He vaginally raped her, took money out of her pocket, and ran off.
The victim called the police from her apartment. After police interviewed the victim, they stopped Wiley Fountain later that night only one block from her apartment. Fountain matched her description, as he was wearing a white and gray warmup suit with dark stripes and a baseball cap with a shower cap underneath. Fountain asserted that he was at home in bed when the victim was assaulted.
The Biological Evidence
The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS) analyzed the biological evidence from the rape kit collected from the victim. They found seminal fluid on her vaginal swab and panties. There was too little material on her panties of support further testing, and further testing on the swab was inconclusive.
Michelle Moore, of the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, took on Fountain’s case and filed for postconviction DNA testing. On March 26, 2002, the Dallas County District Court granted DNA testing of the vaginal swab and it was sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Laboratory in Garland, Texas. DPS found that the male profile from the vaginal swab did not match the profile of Wiley Fountain, nor of the victim’s husband.
On September 27, 2002, Wiley Fountain was released from prison on a no-cash bond so that he could be free while prosecutors requested another round of DNA testing to be absolutely sure of his innocence. He had been paroled the previous year, but his parole was revoked when he could not find a job or pay fees as a registered sex offender. Based on the new DNA test results, Governor Perry granted a full pardon based on innocence on March 18, 2003.