A North Carolina judge has dismissed all charges and overturned the conviction and sentence of Michael Alan Parker who spent 22 years in prison on child sex abuse charges. Michael Alan Parker had been convicted and sentenced to 8 consecutive life sentences plus 40 years after he was indicted in 1993 along with 8 others of ritually abusing his own three children. The Duke Law School’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic said Parker was greeted by his brother after his release from the Craggy Correctional Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
“I feel great,” Parker said, “I’m not even looking back. I’m looking out at the trees…I’m not looking back.”
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind as to Michael’s innocence,” defense attorney Sean Devereux said.
Henderson County District Attorney Greg Newman objected to the ruling, but said he respected it, “We believe that [he] did something…I think there’s a legitimate issue [as to what he did]…we may never know for sure. This happened a long time ago.”
As questions were raised about Parker’s conviction, he was offered a deal by prosecutors a year ago that would have nullified his conviction and sentence. As part of the deal, he would get time served if he pled guilty to offenses, including taking indecent liberties with a minor.
“He wouldn’t do that. He stayed in [there] another year and potentially stayed…forever. He’s a pretty courageous guy,” Devereux said.
According to the judge’s ruling, advances in child medical examinations and forensic interviewing techniques warranted a granting of Parker’s motion for relief and that most of the evidence presented at his original trial was based upon unreliable forensics.
Parker was convicted during a satanic ritual abuse hysteria during the 80s and 90s that led to many wrongful convictions.
All the other defendants in Parker’s case also have received relief.