Raymond Towler spent 29 years imprisoned for a crime he did not commit before he was released in 2010. At the time, the Cleveland native was the longest serving wrongfully incarcerated prisoner to be released in Ohio history and one of the longest in United States history.
In 1981, an armed gunman had raped an 11-year-old girl in a Cleveland park and forced her cousin to watch. A few weeks later, a park ranger stopped Raymond, who was then 24-years-old, for a traffic violation. He arrested Raymond because he purportedly believed Raymond resembled a drawing of the rape-suspect. After the victim identified Raymond from a photo array, he prosecuted and found guilty. Raymond was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Work by the Ohio Innocence Project led to DNA testing that conclusively proved Raymond’s innocence. He was the third OIP client to be released from prison.
In his freedom, Raymond has co-founded a non-profit organization, X Freedom Housing Group, that provides housing to people who were wrongfully convicted, people reentering society from prison, and people with disabilities. When Raymond is not working on his properties, he is painting or creating music in his studio, or with the Exoneree Band or the Lydian Jazz Band.
He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Ohio Innocence Project and as an advisory board member for Chagrin arts.
You can learn more about Raymond’s case at the National Registry of Exonerations, available here. And you can learn more about Raymond through stories like this one via the Columbus Dispatch.
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