Exonerated after 28 years in prison, man asks for apology from rape victim - KMOV.com

Exonerated after 28 years in prison, man asks for apology from rape victim

DALLAS -- It was an emotional day for "Mary Smith," the Highland Park woman who said she finally got justice Thursday. She finally got to say what she wanted to say to Marion Sayles, the man who raped, shot, and left her for dead 30 years ago.

“How dare you? You tried to destroy my life. And by the grace of God, I'm here. And you are now serving a life sentence for what you did to me. God bless you,” Smith said.

Sayles sat quietly as his sentence was read. He now faces life in prison for the conviction of attempted capital murder.

But the victim wasn't the only person related to the case with something to say Friday.

James C. Williams was one of two men first accused of the crime. Williams said his conviction was based on eyewitness accounts, and was exonerated based on DNA evidence. Authorities said DNA evidence also led them to Sayles and another man awaiting trial, Frederick Anderson.

Williams was exonerated nearly two years ago.

“I'm very happy for Ms. Smith, but at the same time, I feel like enough justice has not been done for me," Williams said. "I've never received a letter, and no kind of apology or nothing from Ms. Smith.”

Williams, who is facing a second, unrelated sexual assault charge, spent 28 years in prison for something he didn't do.

“What they took from me only God himself can give back," he said. "And I really suffered."

Williams regrets never being able to say goodbye to his mom. He wishes for an apology, but said he harbors no ill will toward the victim.

"I don’t hold any grudges against Ms. Smith," Williams said. "I forgive her, and I forgive the courtroom and the prosecutors for what they did to me."

Williams said he now struggles to live life. He admitted he has mental issues, but said that's what 28 years behind bars will do.

He had something to say to Sayles as well.

"I wish he would have been man enough to come forward and admit it," Williams said.

Williams said his attorney is working on exonerating him of that second sexual assault charge. He said he did get financially compensated for being wrongly imprisoned, but would not say how much.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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