From AP REPORTS
DALLAS (AP) – The Dallas County district attorney's office said DNA testing has revealed the true perpetrator of a 1982 sexual assault and burglary for which another man was wrongfully convicted.
DNA testing proved Sidney Alvin Goodyear was guilty of the crime that sent Steven Charles Phillips to prison for 25 years, said Mike Ware, director of the DA's conviction integrity unit.
Goodyear died 10 years ago in prison at the age of 50 while serving a sentence for burglary with intent to commit sexual assault in Harris County.
"He's glad they identified the right person," said Phillips' attorney, Robert Udashen.
Phillips, who was paroled in December, pleaded guilty to eight sex-crime charges and was found guilty of three others in the early 1980s.
Authorities believe the other crimes were also committed by Goodyear.
Phillips' attorneys said he hopes to be cleared in the other cases as well. He pleaded guilty to the other crimes because he feared more prison time after losing two jury trials, they said.
Police investigating a string of sexual assaults in Dallas and Kansas City in 1982 believed the crimes were committed by the same man.
Goodyear was a suspect in the Dallas County case for which Phillips was conviction. Ware said a warrant was issued for Goodyear but he was never arrested. Records from the time don't explain why, Ware said.
After DNA testing exonerated Phillips last year, the district attorney's office asked for a comparison of the DNA from the sexual assault and blood saved from Goodyear's autopsy.
Goodyear was also suspected of sex crimes in California, Kansas, Georgia and Missouri, authorities said.
Phillips, 49, was the 15th person to be cleared by DNA testing in Dallas County, the most of any county in the nation.
Ware said determining the true perpetrator of a crime is equally as important as clearing an innocent convict in cases of DNA exoneration.
This is the third case out of the 15 Dallas County exonerations in which the true perpetrator was identified. Two of those suspects had already died, while a third pleaded guilty at the same time a suspect was wrongly convicted.
Michelle Moore of the Innocence Project of Texas, a legal clinic that works to clear the wrongly convicted, said it's likely the actual perpetrators in some of Dallas County's exoneration cases are still alive.
"At some point, the DNA is going to come back to someone who isn't dead," she said. "It will be interesting to see how they handle it and what they do with these cases."
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com