On December 17, 2021, Anthony Dixon walked out of prison after being locked up for 28 years for a crime that DNA proved he did not commit. Although he was released from prison and is finally home, a Missouri court would not exonerate him––even though DNA evidence and expert testimony proved his innocence––and he is not entitled to compensation for the nearly three decades he spent wrongfully incarcerated. Please chip in to help Anthony rebuild his life as we continue working to overturn his conviction.
On June 9, 1995, Anthony Dixon was convicted for a 1993 rape and robbery that occurred at a motel in Harrisonville, Missouri. Mr. Dixon maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, pre-trial hearings, and at trial––and has consistently maintained his innocence for the 28 years since. Mr. Dixon’s conviction rested on a photographic identification made by a male victim and voice identifications made by the same male victim and by a female victim, who could not see the perpetrator’s face because he was wearing a ski mask. Mr. Dixon was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years.
The Midwest Innocence Project and the Innocence Project took on Mr. Dixon’s case in 2012 with the hope that DNA testing conducted on probative items of crime scene evidence could confirm Mr. Dixon’s long-maintained innocence. In 2013, Mr. Dixon was excluded as a possible contributor to the sperm found on the rope used to tie up the victims during the commission of the crime. The only explanation for the presence of sperm on this rope is that the sperm belonged to the perpetrator, and post-conviction DNA testing proved that Mr. Dixon was not the contributor.
Had these DNA testing results been available at trial, the jury would have found Mr. Dixon not guilty. Despite these exculpatory results, the Circuit Court of Johnson County, MO, denied Mr. Dixon’s motion for post-conviction relief, stating, “the DNA evidence simply does not overcome the unequivocal identifications in this case.”
While DNA speaks for itself, eyewitness identifications are the leading cause of wrongful conviction. Eyewitness misidentification has, in fact, played a part in 70% of the 375 post-conviction exonerations to date wherein DNA proved an innocent defendant was wrongfully convicted. In Mr. Dixon’s case, an eyewitness identification expert explained to the Court the problems with the victims’ identifications, which called into question their reliability. Despite this eyewitness expert testimony undermining the most critical part of Mr. Dixon's conviction and DNA testing results that unequivocally prove his innocence, Missouri courts refused to do the right thing and vacate his conviction.
We are grateful that Anthony is home on parole, but heartbroken that he is barred from receiving support after so many years stolen. Please join us in welcoming Anthony home by helping him get back on his feet after enduring so much injustice.