Innocent Philadelphia man is freed from prison 19 years after cops put him in prison by claiming he’d raped a woman then shot at them when he’d in fact saved her from a different man
- Termaine Joseph Hicks, 45, was freed from prison in Philadelphia on Wednesday
- He was jailed in 2001 after cops Marvin Vinson and Dennis Zungolo testified against him
- They claim they found him raping a woman in an alley near a hospital and that he shot at them when they confronted him
- In fact, he’d run to the woman’s aid when he heard her screaming and the real rapist ran away
- He also says he never had a gun and that the cops planted it on him to justify shooting him
- The cop was registered to another Philadelphia cop who’d never reported it missing
- The two cops who testified against him are still working on the force
An innocent Philadelphia man has been freed after spending 19 years in prison because two police officers wrongly claimed he’d raped a woman and then shot at him, when he’d in fact saved her from a different man.
Termaine Joseph Hicks, now 45, was near the St. Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia in the early hours of Nov. 27, 2001 when he heard a woman screaming.
She was walking to an early shift at a Dunkin’ Donuts when she was pistol-whipped and dragged into an alley by a man who raped her.
Hicks – who was working at the time as a Popeye’s assistant manager – ran to the alley to help.
The rapist, startled by headlights from a delivery van nearby, ran off and Hicks says that is when he arrived.
But when cops Marvin Vinson and Dennis Zungolo arrived second later, they presumed he’d attacked the woman and shot at him.
They then claimed that he’d opened fire on them and that they shot him in self-defense.
Termaine Joseph Hicks, now 45, leaving SCI Phoenix on the outskirts of Philadelphia on Wednesday 19 years after being wrongfully convicted
He was convicted of the sexual assault even though the woman could not identify her attacker at trial and had suffered a head injury, and of shooting the police officers and was sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
Leaving prison on Wednesday, he said felt ‘100lbs lighter’
This week, however, after a review of his case, his conviction was overturned by the Conviction Integrity Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
The head of that unit said that ‘false testimony’ was to blame for it.
‘False testimony was used, and I believe it’s impossible to say that did not contribute to the conviction,’ CIU chief Patricia Cummings said.
Among the reasons for the decision was that the cops’ story was not consistent with Hicks’ injuries – he was shot in the back – and there was no reliable security footage to determine exactly what happened.
Hicks’ attorneys also say that he never shot at the police.
They claim the officers made that part of the story up to justify shooting at him, and that they even planted a gun on him.
The cop was registered to another Philadelphia cop who’d never reported it missing
Hicks’ lawyers say the fact there was blood on the gun but not on the interior or his jacket, where the cops say he pulled it from, proves they were lying.
Hicks was freed from prison on Wednesday. It’s unclear whether he now plans to sue the police department.
The incident happened in an alley near what was St Agnes Hospital (pictured) before it was demolished. Hicks heard the woman screaming and ran to help her
Both of the cops remain employed there, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The police department did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquires about whether or not they would now lose their jobs or be placed on leave while an investigation is carried out by the The Police Advisory Commission, which has vowed to review the case.
Vinson has been named in a separate civil case filed against the police department by a taxi driver who says he wrongly accused him of theft then racially abused him, telling him to ‘go back to his country’.
Leaving prison on Wednesday, Hicks said: ‘I feel 100 pounds lighter.
‘It’s unfortunate and sad that it took how long it took for me to clear my name. I’ve been saying the same thing since day one…
‘The things that are promised to citizens should be delivered: a fair trial, and a fair look at what’s being presented. ‘
The two cops involved still work for the Philadelphia Police Department