ADA, Okla. – Is there another “Innocent Man” case in Ada, Oklahoma?
DNA came back to someone other than the man locked up for the crime, but the district attorney refuses to set aside the man’s conviction.
Now, that prosecutor is breaking his silence.
The evidence in Perry Lott’s 1988 case sits in a box in District Attorney Paul Smith’s office.
“The evidence we have is not at all compelling that some other perpetrator committed this crime,” Smith said.
A woman who was raped in her Ada home in 1987 picked Lott out of a police lineup. A jury convicted him.
The rape kit was finally tested in 2014 after the Innocence Project took Lott’s case.
The DNA came back to the victim’s ex-husband and another unknown man.
No physical evidence put Lott at the crime scene.
“The assailant wore a condom and gloves. You wouldn’t expect seminal fluid to be in the rape kit. You wouldn’t expect his DNA to be in the vaginal swab,” Smith said.
“The unknown male DNA was on a cervical swab from the opening of the victim’s uterus, not a vaginal swab. The victim testified at trial that the rapist removed his gloves before the rape” Lott’s attorney, Doug Parr said.
Last year, Paul Smith agreed to let Perry Lott out of prison, but his conviction would stand.
Lott took the deal, but his attorneys are fighting for his full exoneration.
Lott served 27 years in prison.
“Mr. Lott is an innocent man. His conviction should be set aside,” Parr said.
The effort to reopen Lott’s case is happening as a hit Netflix documentary, “John Grisham’s The Innocent Man” casts a dark shadow on the justice system in Ada.
“In my election, the author of the book [John Grisham] was in our election writing op-eds and different things in opposition to me. Don’t know why,” Smith said.
Smith references Grisham and his role with the Innocence Project in his latest court filings in Lott’s case.
More answers may come to light after DNA testing is done on a second rape kit. There was a similar rape in 1990.
The man accused in that rape case went to trial and was acquitted, but the rape kit was never tested for DNA.
Now Lott’s attorneys want to get that rape kit tested to see if it matches the unknown male DNA in Lott’s case.
News 4 asked Smith what his reaction would be if the DNA results come back in that second rape case to match the partial profile from the Lott case.
“Then that’s something substantial,” Smith said.
He said he would be open to exoneration at that point.
We also asked Smith if he thinks Perry Lott is guilty.
“What I think doesn’t matter. It’s what the evidence supports,” Smith said.
The detective who investigated Lott’s case committed suicide before he was set to testify in one of Lott’s hearings last year.
Smith says the OSBI looked into that detective’s death.
That OSBI report remains sealed, and at least for now, Perry Lott remains a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.