News

Innocence Project Client Perry Lott Released from Prison After 30 Years of Wrongful Incarceration

By Innocence Staff

Perry Lott walks out of prison on July 9, 2018 after spending 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Today, Innocence Project client Perry Lott walked out of prison after 30 years of wrongful incarceration in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma. Despite exculpatory DNA evidence, District Attorney Paul Smith offered Lott a sentence modification in the form of time served. Lott agreed to accept this settlement so he can move forward with certainty in regaining his life and not risk years of litigation while a motion to vacate his conviction is resolved in the courts.

“We believe that DNA and other new evidence clearly establish Perry Lott’s innocence and show that the last 30 years he has spent incarcerated were years stolen from him by the State of Oklahoma,” said Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Karen Thompson, who represented Lott alongside local counsel Douglas Parr. “No physical evidence has ever connected him to these crimes.”

In November 1987, at 1:15 a.m., the victim felt a gun to her head as she unlocked the door to her house. A man then pushed her into her house, took $120.00 from her purse and raped her. The victim described the perpetrator as a black male between 5’7” and 6’2” with a partial gold tooth in the front. She could not determine his hair length or body size because he was wearing a cap and a jacket.

While filming a Crimestoppers re-enactment video about the rape and robbery near the victim’s home, Detective Mike Baskin directed Detective Jeff Crosby’s attention to “a black guy parked on 15th Street.” Detective Crosby approached the car, spoke with the man—who was later identified as Perry Lott—and asked for identification. Detective Crosby testified that during their conversation, he “noted” Lott had a gold tooth.

Take action: Help prevent wrongful convictions in Oklahoma and around the U.S.

Lott told Detective Crosby that he was in the area to see his girlfriend who lived nearby. Lott further explained that he had been with his fiancée the night before, from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. the next morning when he left for work. Despite this alibi, the detectives asked Lott to go to the police station for further questioning.

Two days later, after police told the victim that the perpetrator had been caught, Lott was put in a formal lineup. None of the other “fillers” in the line up had gold teeth; they were instead given gold foil from a local flower shop to cover their teeth as a means of simulating the partial gold tooth allegedly described by the victim. Based on this lineup, the victim selected Lott.

In 2014, the victim would tell an investigator about the lineup, “But I can’t think of anything that overly stands out that made me select him . . . I kept thinking, what if I choose the wrong one?”

In 2014, the victim would tell an investigator about the lineup, “But I can’t think of anything that overly stands out that made me select him . . . there wasn’t nothing, you know, that screamed, hey, it’s me . . . I kept thinking, what if I choose the wrong one?”

At trial, police acknowledged that the only suspect in the lineup without gold foil on their tooth was Lott. In addition, although the victim testified her perpetrator was clean-shaven at the time of the rape, at the time of the lineup, Lott had at least “a few days’ growth of moustache.” Lott presented an alibi defense at trial, noting that the day before the rape he had been with his fiancée at court on a bond hearing and then home all night.

Related: Eyewitness Misidentification

DNA testing performed in 2014 on the victim’s rape kit revealed a mixture of two males on a vaginal swab. The victim’s ex-husband—with whom she was still sexually intimate—could not be excluded. Lott, however, was excluded as the source of male genetic material found on the victim’s vaginal swab.

Despite this powerful new scientific evidence revealing Lott’s innocence, current District Attorney Paul Smith has refused to grant post-conviction relief to Lott. Smith also objected to testimony from an eyewitness identification expert about the frailty of the victim’s identification.

Having been wrongly convicted once and deeply concerned that it could happen a second time given the prosecutor’s posture in the case, today Lott agreed to a sentence modification in the form of time served. He regained his freedom today for the first time in 30 years.

“The Innocence Project is thrilled that Mr. Lott is now free,” said Attorney Thompson. “We will continue to stand with and by him and his loving family as he bravely re-enters a new world.”

10 Comments

  1. Tracy Chastain

    I hope the poor guy gets something good rewarded back for all the years of freedom that was taken away from him and the case is CLOSED for good!

  2. Jeffrey Neves

    The District Attorney should be ashamed of himself and should be removed from office.

    Mr. Lott is clearly innocent and this conviction should not stand. Injustice to poor Americans (mostly people of color) is sickening, and disgusting! How do the Courts of America continue to allow these known flaws of justice to continue?

    Congrats, to you Mr. Lott on your freedom. I understand your frustrations with the Criminal Justice system. I would have made the same choice as you (freedom over wrongful incarceration). The entire population of this nation needs to demand justice overhaul. In 2018 our people are still being enslaved into the corrupt justice system ruining lives and generations of our people while the crooked, unlawful barbarian’s careers are enhanced.

    WAKE UP AMERICA, INJUSTICE TO ONE AMERICAN IS AN INJUSTICE TO ALL AMERICANS WHICH IS A DIRECT THREAT TO OUR VERY EXISTENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY

  3. Alesha Poche

    The sad part is he had to take a plea…DNA conclusively cleared him!! He should have been exonerated and not had take a plea for his freedom. This is what every state does…conviction at any cost, even if the party if completely innocent.
    Mr. Lott, wishing you many blessings in your freedom!

  4. Marsha Colbey

    Many Congratulations!!!! I can’t imagine how your life is changing from minute to minute, now. I spent 8 yrs in prison for a wrongful coviction. EJI won my Appellate Case, by God’s glory. Many prayers and long Life to you.

  5. DARLENE sudds

    YEAAA YU ARE SO BLESSED YU MADE ME CRY WAISTED YEARS GOD BLESS YU AND YUR FAMILY WE ARE WORKING SO HARD TO FREE MY HUSBAND FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTION OF 15 HOD BLESS YOU YEAAAASSS

  6. Kathy Robinson

    Congratulations!!! Have a blessed life!

  7. Delia Perez Meyer

    I can’t be more excited and happy about Mr. Lott’s release after 30 years of wrongful conviction !! I, too, have an innocent brother on death row in Texas and become livid each time I read about these cases of prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective counsel, eyewitness errors, collusion, withholding of evidence, and most importantly, a lack of respect for these men’s lives !!! May God bless this man as he re-enters into a society that has changed so much since he’s been gone …. my love and prayers go out to him, his family, those who supported him while he was incarcerated, and of course, The Innocence Projects around the country who continue to fight injustice in our names !!! Sincerely, Delia Perez Meyer – Sister of Louis Castro Perez – Innocent on Texas’ Death Row

  8. nikita josephine

    prayers and best wishes to you and your family. this has to stop, no person and their family should have to go through this.

  9. David Kazimierczak

    Mr. Lott,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your freedom as an Innocent man. You will never recover that time that was wrongfully taken from you and your loved ones. When Injustice is served to good people, how does one ever recover. The will to survive, the will to believe, the will to be reunited with your loved ones. That is what has been accomplished. Be strong, and move on. God is watching, and remains the final Judge. The people that make the decisions to wrongfully Incarcerate Innocent people will meet the final Judge. Thank you to all the Staff of the Innocence Project. Please continue to assist the Final Judge in these Wrongdoings.

  10. Min. Phyllis Blue

    Hi Mr. Lott, Truly my heart is so saddened by the injustice that was done to you. I hate to even think about what you’ve had to endure while incarcerated. This one thing I do know, you have been given the knowledge, experience, Godly wisdom to be a advocate for two causes. Tell the younger people what you had to endure. Let them know the nastiness of incarceration. Then, use your legal knowledge to team up with the knowledgeable people that fight for rights of the wrongly convicted. God has held you up and allowed you to go through this for a reason. You are a fighter, filled with power to shake mountains and move hearts with a spiritual blow. You’re getting ready to make your mark in history that will stand forever and will not be erased. I look forward to one day hearing your voice and seeing your face as we March In unity for the rights of lives. Min. Phyllis Blue.

Leave a Reply

Featured news