Oklahoma man seeks exoneration after nearly three decades in prison

ADA, Okla. - The Pontotoc County courthouse in Ada, Oklahoma, is the setting of a smash hit on Netflix.

It's also at the heart of another decades-old case gripping the town of Ada.

A rape victim in 1987 picked Perry Lott out of a police lineup.

A jury convicted him.

"In Mr. Lott's case, that eyewitness identification was the only evidence that connected him to the case. The original conviction was based on very weak and very flimsy evidence," Lott's attorney, Doug Parr, said.

Parr is local counsel for Lott. He's also represented by attorneys Karen Thompson and Barry Scheck with the Innocence Project.

"I was lost. I didn't understand what had happened, how did it happen, why did it happen," Lott said in 2018.

The rape kit was finally tested in 2014 thanks to the Innocence Project.

DNA found on the rape kit didn't come back to Perry Lott

It linked to her ex-husband and an unknown man.

In July of last year, Perry Lott had a tough decision to make.

He agreed to a settlement agreement with the district attorney for time served.

He didn't want to spend another day in prison.

He'd already served 27 years.

That was on a Friday. A hearing was scheduled for that Monday in which the Ada police officer who investigated the crime was set to testify.

But over the weekend, that Ada officer committed suicide.

"We discovered there was another unsolved rape case that occurred after Mr. Lott's case where all the circumstances of the case were extremely close to Mr. Lott's case, and some of the same police officers were involved in the case," Parr said.

News 4 went to talk to Pontotoc County District Attorney Paul Smith.

He wasn't at his office and didn't return our calls on Friday.

However, Smith did issue KFOR a statement over the weekend. 

"I have requested OSBI to look into the prospects of testing evidence from another Pontotoc Co case and comparing results to the unknown partial DNA skin cell profile in the Lott case. This developed recently when the Innocence project brought this case to the court’s and my attention. Also, I have spoke to OSBI about testing all of the potential sources of the DNA partial profile to discover the identity of its contributors.

The timing of the attention on this case is also very suspect coming on the heels of the release of the paperback version of a book and the Netflix episodes under the innocent man label by the author.

I am determined to see that justice is done in the Lott case and all others. But until conclusive evidence comes to light, the balance of the evidence that convicted Lott cannot be discounted and the jury’s verdict must be honored."

Right before Christmas, he fought Lott's latest efforts to keep investigating his case.

The judge ruled for Lott.

"We will be able to file a motion to reopen Mr. Lott's case with a sealed affidavit from the victim of the second rape case who has given us permission to seek testing of the rape kit in her case and also to inquire into Mr. Crosby's suicide," Parr said.

Lott's attorney will file that motion this month.

The district attorney will respond, then the decision goes to the judge.

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