A Yakima man who falsely confessed to rape and served nearly a decade behind bars before being exonerated says he wants the real rapist brought to trial. He says prosecutors should examine new DNA evidence uncovered by a private investigator.
Ted Bradford was convicted of raping a woman in her home in 1995 as her newborn baby lay nearby. The rapist put a mask over her face.
Eventually, when the DNA on the mask was tested, it revealed the DNA wasn’t Bradford’s. It was that of an unknown male.
So whose was it?
That’s the question Bradford and his attorneys set out to answer. They had reason to believe it was the victim’s brother-in-law, who had been mentioned several times in the victim's initial statements.
At a news conference in Seattle, attorney Michael Wampold said they brought the man they suspected of being the rapist in to give a deposition.
“And at the deposition, we offered him snacks and gum and a glass of water. He came with gloves on and he didn’t take any of the things we offered him,” Wampold said.
Foiled in their attempt to get a sample of his DNA , Wampold's firm hired a private investigator. Wampold said the investigator was successful by going through the man's garbage. He pointed to a photo.
“This is a photograph here on the left of some of the garbage that was taken. We had the bottle, that's there circled, tested in a lab and, in fact, two weeks ago we learned the results of that testing. The DNA on the bottle was a match with the DNA that was left on the mask at the time of the rape," Wampold said.
The Yakima County Prosecutor has said he'll look into it.
Ted Bradford, who was wrongly convicted of the crime, says prosecuting the real perpetrator would change how people perceive him.
"I was exonerated, I was acquitted after a second trial. But, there was always some kind of doubt that, well maybe he still did it," Bradford said.
In the meantime, Bradford’s been traveling the country on behalf of the Innocence Project arguing for reform of police investigations. One push is to require that interrogations of suspects be recorded. Bradford says had there been tape of his false confession, it would have been clear to the jury that he’d been coerced.