For so many of us this holiday season is different. We’re not able to have our normal gatherings or hug our loved ones. But for Desmond Rouse, this holiday season is extraordinary. Just last week, Desmond was released from prison after 26 years for crimes that never happened.
Desmond and his brother Jude Feather, along with their cousins Russell and Jesse, were each sentenced to 30 or more years in prison. The men, who belong to the Yankton Sioux tribe, went on trial in 1994, charged with assaulting their young nieces. Their convictions were based on coerced testimony from the children and false medical evidence with racial prejudice against Native Americans surfacing numerous times during the government investigation and their trial.
Desmond with IPTX Deputy Director Allison Clayton at the airport before heading home to South Dakota
Allison Clayton, Deputy Director of IPTX, said “Seeing the joy on Desmond’s face the morning of his release made all the years of fighting for his freedom worthwhile. IPTX will continue to work toward his full exoneration.”
Desmond will be staying in a halfway house for the time being but hopes to return home to his family soon. As you think of your own sense of home this holiday season, we hope you will consider a gift to support the work of Innocence Project of Texas. Your support goes to critical DNA analysis, expert witnesses and court costs that can lead to justice for the wrongfully convicted like Desmond.
Your gift means we can continue to help lead these courageous people and their families on the long and difficult journey home.