Summary Courtesy of The National Registry of Exonerations
by Maurice Possley
At about 2 a.m. on August 12, 1992, a passerby flagged down a Dallas police officer to report that a woman was being raped nearby. When police came to the scene, they found a woman, two children and two men—25-year-old Darryl Adams and 25-year-old Ronald Eubanks—sleeping on the street near a Salvation Army shelter.
When the police woke them, the woman at first denied she had been attacked. However, when the officers escorted the woman away from the men and questioned her, the woman said that Adams had raped her and that Eubanks had attempted to rape her, but could not.
Adams and Eubanks were arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault. About a month later, on September 17, 1992, Adams and Eubanks pled guilty to the charge in Dallas County Criminal District Court. They each were sentenced to 10 years probation.
A year later, however, their probation was revoked after Adams was charged with a burglary and Eubanks was caught using marijuana. Adams was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Eubanks was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Eubanks was released on parole on June 3, 2003.
Over the next 20 years, Adams and Eubanks sought DNA testing. Ultimately, a collaborative investigation involving the Dallas County District Attorney’s conviction integrity unit and the Innocence Project of Texas resulted in a series of DNA tests being performed in 2009, 2010 and 2014.
In 2014, the final round of testing of the rape kit identified a male DNA profile and excluded both Adams and Eubanks. Attorneys Gary Udashen and Natalie Roetzel filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate Adams’s conviction. Adams was released on bond on August 11, 2014. A similar petition was filed on behalf of Eubanks.
The District Attorney Craig Watkins filed a response in support of the petition and agreed that if the DNA test results had been available after the crime, the defendants would not have been convicted. In August 2014, Adams was released on bond pending the resolution of the petition. Eubanks had been released years earlier and subsequently twice convicted of failing to register as a sex offender. The complainant, who had a prior conviction at the time of the crime for engaging in prostitution, died in 2001.
In March 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Adams’s writ and vacated his petition. The case was sent back to Dallas County where it remained pending a decision in Eubanks’s case. In December 2016, the Court of Criminal Appeals granted Eubanks’s writ and vacated his conviction as well.
On February 8, 2017, the prosecution dismissed the charges against Eubanks and Adams.