A man from Oregon has been exonerated from what would have been a 50-year prison sentence after the discovery of a black lab named Lucy lead to the unraveling of the District Attorney’s case. Joshua Horner, a plumber from Redmond, OR, was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor in 2017.
The alleged victim in the case had testified that Horner threatened to shoot her animals if she spoke to the police about the alleged molestation.
She then claimed that Horner actually shot and killed Lucy the black lab to make his point. After being convicted by a non-unanimous jury, Horner turned to the Oregon Innocence Project for help.
The group immediately set out to look for Lucy, as Horner insisted he never shot the dog. Finding Lucy was no easy task, but the Innocence Project was aided by the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office, who had agreed to work with the group after they raised concerns about Horner’s case.
Finally, Lucy was found in a town Northwest of Portland called Gearhart. She was alive and well, meaning the accuser had lied in her testimony. This forced the District Attorney’s office to reconsider their stance, and soon enough Horner’s conviction was reversed, and another trial ordered.
The alleged victim from the case has since been uncooperative with the District Attorney’s office, and Horner will no longer have to go to the second trial. This was the first exoneration achieved by the Oregon Innocence Project, who was established in 2014.
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NY Post, Associated Press, September 11th, 2018