21-Year-Old Case Goes to Court With New Suspect - NBC Connecticut

21-Year-Old Case Goes to Court With New Suspect

DNA freed a man convicted for the rape and kidnapping, now a second man is charged



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    Duane Foster, 47, is suspected in a 1988 rape but has been charged only with kidnapping because of the statute of limitations.

    A man suspected in the rape and kidnapping that left the wrong person in jail for 18 years will stand trial next year, but only on the kidnapping charges.

    Jury selection for the trial of Duane Foster will begin on March 22, Judge David Gold says.

    The crime that sends Foster, 47, to court happened in January 1988, when a then-26-year-old victim was beaten, robbed and then sexually assaulted.

    Foster, 47, lived near the Charter Oak Avenue site in Hartford where the crime happened, police said.  

    But police arrested James Tillman, then 26, of Hartford and charged him with the crime. In 2006, he was finally freed after a DNA test proved he wasn't the attacker and the state awarded him $5 million for wrongful conviction.

    Foster, who has an extensive criminal record in Connecticut that dates back to 1977, became a suspect because of DNA left on the victim's pantyhose, prosecutors say. When police made the DNA link, Foster was serving time in a Virginia prison.

    Foster has been charged with first-degree kidnapping. However, there are no rape charges, prosecutors say, because the statute of limitation for rape was five years when the crime occurred. 

    After being freed, Tillman said he wasn't about to cast judgment on Foster.

    "I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt because I wanted the benefit of the doubt," Tillman said in 2007.  "I was being accused. ... I don't want to accuse anyone."