Exonerated: November 20, 2018
Incarcerated 36 years, 5 months, 3 days
William Hines and Rodney Robinson were murdered in identical circumstances during the week of Thanksgiving 1980 within a mile of each other. Both victims were gay men who apparently had consensual sex with their killer before being stabbed to death. Police found enough physical and witness evidence to eventually exclude John Floyd from Robinson’s murder.
The only evidence the prosecution has ever presented to link Mr. Floyd to the murder is a series of things Mr. Floyd, who has an IQ of 59, allegedly confessed while drunk. No physical evidence or eyewitnesses link him to the crime or victim.
Mr. Floyd was convicted of the Hines murder at the same trial as he was acquitted of the Robinson murder.
IPNO began working on Mr. Floyd’s case in 2001 and found significant evidence of his innocence, including a fingerprint comparison performed by police that was never turned over to the DA or to Mr. Floyd’s lawyer. The comparison revealed that, not only were none of his prints found at the scene, but that the prints of someone other than the victims was present on the whiskey bottle and glasses found at both crime scenes. IPNO also obtained DNA testing on hairs found at the Robinson crime scene that establishes that an unknown black man was in bed with the victim immediately before his death (Mr. Floyd is white).
After years of fighting for Mr. Floyd in state and federal court, IPNO secured his release in June 2017. The Orleans Parish DA’s office has stated it does not object to Mr. Floyd “being permanently released from custody,” but it nonetheless continued to fight to re-impose a life sentence upon him.
Mr. Floyd was finally exonerated on November 20th, 2018.