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Anthony Capozzi was convicted and sentenced to 20 years, however, there was no physical evidence linking him to the rapes in Buffalo, New York, in the 1980s. The crime involved several women and happened along a bike path in Delaware Park. The attacker came up to each of them and threatened them at gunpoint before raping them. After the attack, the women were told to stay on the ground for another ten minutes before fleeing (Anthony Capozzi 1). Anthony Capozzi was convicted and sentenced for the bike path rapes although the attacks in the area continued. Careless mistakes can cause huge consequences that affect the whole community. Three of the rape victims told investigators that the attacker weighed around 150 pounds (Anthony Capozzi 1).
This is a perfect example of police ignoring information for their own personal goals because Capozzi weighed 220 pounds and had a scar above his left eye. All of the victim’s descriptions of the assailant did not match Anthony Capozzi; however, the police failed to provide that information in court. The police focused on Capozzi because an officer noticed his odd behavior at a coffee shop near Delaware Park. Capozzi had schizophrenia and was known to act strangely in public (Anthony Capozzi 1). Anthony appeared before a parole board every two years while in jail to be considered for release, but he was denied parole five times as a result of failing to confess to the crime.
He did not believe that he should have to admit guilt, show remorse, and complete a mandatory sex offender program for crimes he did not commit. After almost 25 years of incarceration, a detective, who was reviewing the case files, found one of the victims testified that she saw her rapist driving away from a shopping area parking lot a couple days after she was attacked. In that time she was able to copy down the license plate and report it back to police. Investigators found the owner of the car but he had an alibi that checked out and her allegations were removed. It was not until 2006, that he was tracked down by investigators again and re-questioned (Anthony Capozzi 1). After all that time, he finally admitted that the car was not in his possession: he had given it to his nephew, Altemio Sanchez, to borrow. Sanchez was eventually tried and convicted of the bike path rapes. Capozzi’s conviction was abandoned and all charges against him were dropped. His attorney, Thomas D’Agostino, reinstated the search for DNA collected during the preliminary investigation in April of 2007 (Anthony Capozzi 1). For 20 years the rape kits of the victims sat in a drawer of the Erie County Medical Center.
They were believed to be damaged and not used at trial. Mistakes like this continue to happen today because of the lack of federal, state, and local funding that creates a backlog of testing. Due to Capozzi’s wrongful conviction, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and State Senator Dale M. Volker passed “Anthony’s Law” which gives priority to DNA testing claims for the convicted individuals, allowing them a better chance of being exonerated (Anthony Capozzi 1).
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