Andrew Johnson served 24 years in prison for a sexual assault and aggravated burglary he did not commit. On September 27, 1989, a jury convicted Mr. Johnson of sexual assault and aggravated burglary after the victim testified that she knew Mr. Johnson and that he was the perpetrator. Mr. Johnson maintained his innocence throughout his trial and appeal.
In 2008, the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, who had been working on Johnson’s case for several years, discovered evidence of an alternative suspect and worked with prosecutors in Wyoming to help draft the law allowing Wyoming prisoners to petition for DNA testing to prove their innocence.
In 2012, in cooperation with Long Reimer Winegar Beppler LLP, RMIC filed a petition for DNA testing in Mr. Johnson’s case, and the motion was granted – the first in Wyoming’s history. In 2013, the DNA tests excluded Johnson. Further tests of the biological evidence identified the DNA profile of the alternative suspect. In March 2013, a motion for a new trial was filed, and it was granted in April 2013.
On July 19, 2013, the Laramie County District Attorney’s office dismissed the case, and Mr. Johnson was granted an order of actual innocence.
Andrew Johnson is the first and only person exonerated in Wyoming to date. Currently, Wyoming has no law providing compensation for exonerated individuals.