Perry Lott cleared in Ada rape case after 35 years
ADA, Okla. (KTEN) — The year was 1988. Perry Lott was convicted of rape and burglary in Ada and sentenced to prison.
On Tuesday, Lott was exonerated after District Attorney Erik Johnson agreed to vacate his conviction based on DNA test results.
"It was emotional; it was moving; it was big," Lott said. "It doesn't look so big on the outside, but on the inside... when you've gone through this for so many, many, years and to finally get relief like this... man, it feels like the Fourth of July!"
Post-conviction DNA testing performed in 2014 from the victim's rape kit proved that Lott did not commit the crime.
Innocence Project attorneys representing Lott said his case rested entirely on the victim's identification, which was based on a suggestive police lineup.
"You take that together, and that's how someone like Mr. Lott — who had an alibi — was misidentified and, as a result, wrongly convicted," said attorney Adnan Sultan.
Lott was incarcerated for 30 years and spent five years on parole. In 2018, he filed a motion to vacate his conviction based on the DNA results and misidentification. But former District Attorney Paul Smith opposed the motion.
"His parole officer made him take a polygraph; that's standard; and they asked him on the polygraph, 'Did you commit this crime?' And he said, 'No,'" explained Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck. "He passed the polygraph, and that very much affected his parole officer."
When District Attorney Erik Johnson took office in January of this year, he began an in-depth review of the evidence and record of Lott's case and met with the victim prior to the exoneration.
"We spent countless hours reviewing transcripts, the proceedings in the case," Johnson said. "I believe at the post-conviction DNA statutes provide this is a remedy or relief; I believe it's appropriate."
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for Lott.