Roger "Dean" Gillispie

Roger “Dean” Gillispie walked out of prison into the arms of his mother and father three days before Christmas in 2011—after serving 20 years in prison for rapes that he had always maintained he did not commit.

OIP first took Dean's case in 2003, and students worked doggedly to overturn his conviction. They maintained that Dean didn’t get a fair trial in 1991 when he was convicted of rape, kidnapping and aggravated robbery for crimes committed in 1988. Not only was there no physical evidence connecting him to the crimes, information withheld from the jury in 1991 included the fact that the original investigating police detectives had eliminated Dean as a suspect because he did not fit the physical description of the rapist which the victims had given, nor did he fit the profile of the rapist.

Dean’s case wound through the state appeals courts and federal courts for years after his release. It was not until December 2021 that a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge declared Dean to be actually innocent of the crimes for which he had been convicted.

In his freedom, Dean has devoted himself to educating others about wrongful conviction and to supporting other wrongfully convicted people in their freedom. A member of OIP’s Board of Advocates, Dean has spoken across the United States as well as Europe.

Dean is a Renaissance man, with many talents, including as an artist. His work has been exhibited in the Museum or Modern Art’s gallery, PS1, in Brooklyn, and in museums around the country, including the National Underground Museum and Freedom Center in Cincinnati. A documentary by filmmaker Barry Rowen, Spiz, captures part of Dean’s story.

Dean lives in the Dayton area, with his amazing partner, Pam, and near his parents and family. When he’s not speaking for OIP, you likely will find him building or restoring something beautiful, traveling with his vintage Airstream, or fishing.

You can learn more about Dean’s case through the National Registry of Exonerations by clicking here. You can learn more about Dean’s art work via the Atlantic, and PBS.

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