A Columbus man imprisoned for a 2004 home invasion and robbery was released Wednesday after nearly 16 years and will get a new trial thanks to the efforts of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at the University of Cincinnati.
Richard Horton was convicted in 2006 of breaking and entering into a home, and shooting a victim during the armed robbery that occurred in the home. He was sentenced to 23 years imprisonment. Richard, who always maintained his innocence, worked with the Ohio Innocence Project for many years in his quest for freedom.
His legal team, supported by several law students at Cincinnati Law, researched various DNA analysis techniques that were not available at the time of Richard’s trial. In 2022, their work was instrumental in a successful motion for a new trial on Richard. The students’ work discovered a new technique that allowed evidence from the crime to be tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the preeminent crime lab in Ohio. That testing revealed that DNA from a partial fingerprint found on a fired shell casing at the crime scene did not come from Richard. It is believed to have been the first time that this technique has lead to a reversal of a conviction.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Colleen O’Donnell issued an opinion overturning Richard’s conviction and granting him a new trial. The Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney is moving forward with a new prosecution against Richard.
As Richard awaits retrial, he spends time working and with his family, including his beloved wife, Janette, and his two children, now adults.
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