Teen spends year in prison for false rape accusation
A Jefferson County teen has been released from prison after a jury returned a verdict of not guilty on Wednesday for two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault.
Jordan Berry, 18, was released after serving more than a year in prison for a crime he did not commit.
After an hour and a half of deliberation, the seven male and five female jurors returned a not guilty verdict on all counts against Berry.
"Justice has been served," said Brenda Williams, Berry's mother. "I knew he was innocent from the beginning."
In November 2014, Berry, then 16, was arrested after a girl he had multiple prior relations with, accused him and another teen of raping her.
Berry spent more than a year waiting for his name to be vindicated and his friend, Josh Jenkins, must wait another month before he can have his trial.
"This was horrifying for my family. It destroyed our lives," Williams said.
Berry's future may have been changed by the court-appointed attorney provided to the family.
Berry was represented by defense attorney Stephanie Scales who said, "I think the jury got it right."
"We're extremely grateful for Ms. Scales, she was wonderful," Williams said.
"They were very fair," Scales said about the jury, although Berry had already "lost a year of his life."
"She was caught lying several times on the stand," Scales said about the accuser. "She smirked on the witness stand and I don't think that sat well with the jury."
The events were alleged to have transpired on a November night in 2013 when the female snuck out of her house to meet up with Berry and Jenkins at a nearby children's park.
Berry was alleged to have "unlawfully, feloniously and forcibly" engaged in oral and vaginal intercourse against the accuser's will, according to court documents.
The accusations come after the accuser and Berry had sexual relations about a year prior, and Berry received nude photos and explicit text messages right before the alleged incidents.
Regarding the ordeal and his experience in jail, Berry said there was, "nothing I could do about it, just wait."
Berry obtained his GED and is happy to put this experience behind him.
It "feels like I grew up a little more," Berry said. "I just want to stay home with family and worry about getting a job."
After more than a year in prison, Berry says he doesn't hold any grudges against his accuser, but he does "believe in karma."
Jenkins is the other man accused of assaulting the girl but Scales said genetic evidence may prove beneficial for his case.
"Of the two or more male DNA obtained from the accused, it was concluded that one of them was not Jenkins," Scales said.