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Man cleared by DNA evidence in rape case wins legal round

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CLEVELAND — A judge has ruled that a Cleveland Heights man who spent more than 16 years in prison for a rape that DNA evidence showed he did not commit was wrongfully imprisoned.

The decision issued Monday means Christopher Miller, who has been free since 2018, is eligible to collect money from the state’s wrongful imprisonment fund.

Miller had been sentenced to 40 years in 2002 on charges including rape in an attack on a Cleveland Heights woman. The victim’s purse was stolen during the attack and police started tracking her cellphone, which was in the purse. They eventually found the phone in Miller’s possession, and he said he had bought it from a stranger in exchange for drugs and denied involvement in the rape or the attack.

The Ohio Innocence Project became involved in the case and pushed for updated testing that found DNA from two men convicted of a similar crime but none from Miller.

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