The former University of Kansas student who was convicted of rape without any DNA may get a new trial.
On November 2, a two-day hearing was held to decide if 24-year-old Albert Wilson should get a new trial. Wilson was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2019 after being convicted of raping a 17-year-old white girl he met in a Lawrence bar in 2016. His appeal attorneys argued that there was a lack of evidence, including DNA, improper legal counsel, and a biased jury, which they say led to a wrongful conviction. The jury was all white. Fox 4 reports that Wilson was represented by a court-appointed attorney for his first trial.
“What we are trying to show is his original counsel wasn’t effective. There was evidence filed, very helpful to Albert’s case. He never looked at it. There was evidence available he could have used and didn’t even request it,” said Wilson’s attorney, Michael Whalen.
Whalen said hearings in which one claims ineffective counting with the attempt to gain a new trial are sometimes difficult. Despite the challenges, Wilson’s legal team was able to meet all of the criteria needed. The entire ordeal has caused Wilson’s family a large amount of distress as they continue to fight for Wilson’s freedom.
“It has definitely taken a toll on our family. Obviously, we believe in Albert and his innocence. We have had an overwhelming amount of support,” said Wilson’s sister-in-law, Nikki Robinson. “I don’t think we could have gotten this far if it wasn’t for people pushing, sharing his story, believing in him. We are very thankful for that.”
A change.org petition has collected more than 600,000 signatures demanding the case be reviewed, Fox 4 reports. Baller Alert previously reported on the story, which has now made national headlines and gained the attention of several celebs, including Meek Mill and professional athletes.
Back in September 2016, Wilson visited a popular college bar called Jayhawk Café with his friend. While there, Wilson met a woman who was visiting a family member who attended the college. At the time, Wilson was 20, and the girl was 17.
In order to get into the bar, Wilson used his friend’s ID; the girl and her cousin weren’t carded at all. Wilson and the girl ended up going back to Wilson’s apartment. According to Wilson, that night led to him being sentenced to 12 years in prison with a lifetime of probation and a mandatory sex offender label for events that allegedly never happened.
Wilson said the two did go back to his apartment, but sex never happened, only kissing. Both parties said they met while on the dance floor at the bar. Wilson allegedly lifted the girl’s skirt and touched her while they kissed. Soon after, Wilson invited the girl back to his place, which was walking distance from the bar. Neither Wilson nor the woman asked for one another’s age. The alleged victim said Wilson raped her, but Wilson said that isn’t true.
“She didn’t seem intoxicated at all,” said Wilson at the time. Wilson says the two kissed and performed other sexual acts, but sex never happened. According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, scientists testified that Wilson’s DNA was found on the girl’s chest — where he said he kissed her, but no seminal fluid or DNA was found. Following the incident, a nurse collected swabs from the girl, and photos were taken of her inner thighs. During the trial, Wilson maintained his innocence and explained why he initially told police he didn’t remember what happened at his apartment.
“I don’t know how to explain this, but I come from a different background than you, ma’am,” said Wilson, who is black to Judge Sally Pokorny, who is white. “… I just felt like the police [were] against me at that point.” Wilson has no criminal record, earned his associate’s degree from a community college before transferring to KU. After six hours, an all-white jury convicted Wilson of rape. Wilson was given the reported “lowest end of what’s called for by Kansas sentencing guidelines for rape.” Video surveillance showed the two engaging with each other on the dance floor, and only stayed at Wilson’s apartment for five minutes before returning to the bar.
Now the nation is in an uproar, demanding justice for Wilson. People are not questioning why rapists like #BrockTurner received lighter sentences.