A judge on Thursday, April 20, vacated the conviction on the final count remaining against two men who served nearly 17 years behind bars for a shooting in Lancaster in which no one was injured.
Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke said he found that Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass were “not” involved in the Jan. 2, 2004, shooting, ordering that their conviction be vacated on the last count against them — shooting at an inhabited dwelling.
Outside court, attorney Annee Della Donna told reporters, “Today in Los Angeles Superior Court, a groundbreaking ruling occurred. Judge Jacke ruled that Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass were actually innocent of the crime that they were alleged to have committed in 2004. … They are now free. Everything has been overturned. This was a huge miscarriage of justice.”
Glass, now 36, and Rayford, now 37, were initially sentenced to 11 consecutive life prison terms plus 220 years. They were freed from state prison just before Halloween 2020 after a state appeals court panel’s ruling vacated their convictions on 11 counts of attempted murder.
They were sentenced in November 2020 to time already served behind bars on the remaining count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, but their attorney vowed to seek to have them declared factually innocent of that charge. Della Donna and colleague Eric Dubin represented the two in a court proceeding in which Della Donna said, “The real shooter in this case took the stand and testified and confessed to the shooting.” That man is behind bars in a separate murder case, she said.
“Today, I feel really happy, grateful, because I’ve been vindicated from all charges,” Rayford said.
Glass said, “I’m not big for words, but today is a wonderful day. Twenty years we’ve been living this nightmare. It’s finally over.”
Glass’ father and sister said they were grateful for the judge’s decision.
“I really appreciate it that these boys came home,” Mark Glass said. “I prayed on it, prayed on it, knew it would happen because they were innocent. They were good kids. … They were teenagers.”
Glass’ older sister, Tiffany Walker, said, “Today means so much to our families. Our lives were changed back in 2004 and there was so much taken away from them that they could not get back … We know they were innocent from the very beginning, but no one would listen and that no one was L.A. County.”
The judge tentatively set May 16 for another court date and ordered attorneys to “meet and confer about this case.”
Della Donna told reporters, “The district attorney requested a future hearing to see whether or not the district attorney wants to recharge them on some other false crime. We have no idea what that is, but back tucked in my office I have a letter from the Los Angeles district attorney, where they said that they would not charge them with any other crime. So I’m going to pull that letter out and that hearing is going to be taken off calendar. We’re done.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for immediate comment.
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