DNA evidence helps free RonJon Cameron; case dropped
PITTSFIELD — On Monday, RonJon Cameron's attorney spoke the words he had waited more than a dozen years to hear.
"He's a free man," said Laura Edmonds.
Cameron served about 12 years of a 12- to 16-year state prison sentence after being convicted of rape in 2003. The Pittsfield man is 69.
Edmonds confirmed Monday that the case against Cameron had been dismissed.
Counting his pre-trial detention, Cameron spent about 14 years in custody, Edmonds said.
Cameron maintained his innocence since the accusations were made in 1999.
Following a series of appeals of his conviction, new evidence came to light which suggested Cameron was not a contributor of the DNA evidence used against him at trial.
Based on the new information, the state Supreme Judicial Court ordered Cameron be released from prison in June, pending a decision whether to proceed with a new trial.
In late November, citing an inability for the Berkshire District Attorney's office to contact the original complaining witness in the case, it was dismissed.
Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said Friday that without cooperation of that witness, the case cannot be prosecuted.
"It's simply a matter of being unable to proceed," Capeless said.
Edmonds said both she and Cameron were frustrated that the decision to drop the case came from an inability to prosecute, not a declaration of Cameron's innocence.
Regardless, Edmonds said the decision to not pursue a new trial was "the right thing to do."
Legal briefs in support of a new trial were also filed by the New England Innocence Project, a group which provides free legal services to, "identify, investigate and exonerate persons who have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the New England states," according to the brief.
The brief cited new DNA evidence which eliminated Cameron as one of the sources of DNA used at trial.
In court filings, prosecutors argued against a new trial because they did rely solely on that DNA evidence to secure a conviction.
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