Mississippi Innocence Project

Cedric Willis

cedricIn June 1994, Cedric Willis, then just 19 years old, was charged as a participant in two separate robberies – during the course of which a woman was raped and, in the other, a male victim murdered. Mr. Willis was convicted and sentenced him to life in prison for the murder, plus 90 years.

Innocence Project of New Orleans began investigating the case in 2004 and won Mr. Willis a new trial. Among other evidence, DNA testing cleared Mr. Willis of the rape and because the other robbery was almost undoubtedly committed by the same perpetrator, the State dropped the charges. After nearly 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Mr. Willis walked down the front steps of the Hinds County jail into the arms of his family and supporters on March 6, 2006.

2006
  • Exoneration Cedric Willis
    Conviction: Capital Murder, Armed Robbery
    Years Served: 12
2007
  • MIP Established Mississippi Innocence Project Established at University of Mississippi School of Law
2008
  • Exoneration Levon Brooks
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 18
  • Exoneration Kennedy Brewer
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 13
  • Legislation Mississippi DNA Task Force Formed
  • Exoneration Arthur Johnson
    Charge: Rape
    Years Served: 16
2009
  • Exoneration Calvin Wilks
    Charge: Murder
    Years Served: 3.5
  • Legislation DNA Preservation and Post-Conviction Testing Signed into Law
  • Legislation Compensation Statute Provides Funds to Wrongfully Convicted
2010
  • Exoneration Kevin Norwood
    Charge: Armed Carjacking
    Years Served: 15
  • Exoneration Philip Bivens
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
  • Legislation Requiring Board Licensing for pathologists performing State Funded Aubottomsies
  • Exoneration Larry Ruffin (Posthumously)
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
  • Exoneration Bobby Ray Dixon
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
2011
  • Legislation Establishing non-partisan, diverse panel tasked with appointing state medical examiner and creating advisory panel to aid medical examiner office issues
  • Legislation Eye-witness ID training
2012
2013
  • Legislation Helped to defeat HB 788
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