After 24 years in prison, DNA testing clears man of sexual assault

After 24 years in prison, DNA testing clears man of sexual assault. (Provided Photo/WBAY)
After 24 years in prison, DNA testing clears man of sexual assault. (Provided Photo/WBAY)

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A Milwaukee man has been released from Green Bay Correctional Institution after spending nearly 25 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit.

Daryl Dwayne Holloway, 48, walked out of prison Wednesday a free man. New DNA testing cleared Holloway in a sexual assault and burglary case from 1992. Online court records show an order to vacate those convictions and dismiss the charges was filed and signed in Milwaukee County on Tuesday.

“Man I’m almost 50 now. My whole life has changed,” Holloway said.

Holloway spoke with reporters outside GBCI. He was hopeful about his future, but recognized it would be hard for him to find work after being locked up for nearly a quarter of his life.

He talked about heartache and loss, and finding the strength to prove his innocence.

“I almost gave up on it when my mother died. I felt everything was gone. Because that was my rock,” Holloway said. “But I had to remember what she told me before she died. She said, ‘I don’t know and you don’t know what God may have planned for you. but you always remember he got something planned for you. And fight.’”

“So that’s what I got to do.”

In his quest for justice, Holloway wrote to the District Attorney in the case, who launched an investigation into his wrongful conviction.

“I appreciate him so much, because he didn’t have to do that,” Holloway said. “He could be like a lot of prosecutors who turn their back. They don’t want to be wrong. But he wasn’t that kind.”

Holloway’s release was won with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, the group that also helped get Steven Avery released from prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

Wisconsin Innocence Project co-founder Keith Findley said DNA found on one of the victims’ underwear “conclusively excluded Daryl Holloway and the victim’s husband.” Members of the Wisconsin Innocence Project who helped free Holloway traveled to Green Bay to greet him.

Holloway was serving a 120-year sentence. Under state law, he could get about $5,000 per year he spent in prison for the wrongful conviction. However, that is capped at $25,000. Findley said that is “woefully inadequate.”

“Wisconsin has the most miserly compensation statute in the nation,” Findley said.

The attorney said there are efforts in the legislature to bring that up to the federal norm, which is $50,000 per year.

When the topic of Steven Avery arose, Holloway said he had crossed paths with the man serving a life sentence for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Avery claimed DNA testing will set him free.

“Me and Steven Avery, we actually conversed before, because we’d been knowing each other, even when he was on the last case,” Holloway said. “I talked to him. He said he didn’t do it. I don’t want to make judgment on it. Every man has to prove himself and prove his innocence just like I did.”

As for his future, Holloway said he would like to pursue a career in law. He said he’s also skilled in welding and machine shop work.

For now, he’s embracing his freedom and is happy to go home and get a nice steak dinner.