Missouri man cleared in 1997 sex case by DNA evidence

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) _ A southwestern Missouri man who spent nearly two decades in mental hospitals for a conviction of a 1997 sexual assault of a teenage girl has been ordered freed after genetic evidence exonerated him.

Jasper County’s prosecutor says recent DNA testing of a cigarette butt and condom linked to the crime did not belong to 58-year-old Mike Wilkerson of Avilla.

The victim, 17 years old at the time, said she was sexually assaulted in her home, and she identified Wilkerson as her attacker from a photo lineup.

Wilkerson had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was ordered committed to mental hospitals. But a judge last year threw out that plea, prompting new analyses of the condom and cigarette butt.

Prosecutors last Friday dismissed the charges against him.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.