Two men who were serving life sentences have been released from prison after being wrongfully convicted of multiple charges of attempted murder. The release came about due to the efforts of attorney Annee Della Donna and private investigator Daniel Mulrenin, who believed in the innocence of Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass.
Mulrenin, a retired Los Angeles Police Department lieutenant, had been haunted by the case and shared his concerns with Della Donna during a driving lesson. Della Donna, known for championing underdogs, decided to take on the case despite her lack of experience as a criminal lawyer.
The partnership between Mulrenin and Della Donna began in 2011, with Mulrenin providing evidence and files related to the case. Della Donna enlisted the help of students from the UC Irvine School of Law, who assisted in reviewing legal theories, tracking down witnesses, and preparing court challenges. Their work eventually led to the creation of Innocence OC, a university project that works on behalf of individuals believed to be wrongly convicted.
After nearly 17 years behind bars, Rayford and Glass were released in October 2020 when the case against them collapsed on appeal. A judge later declared that they were not the shooters. The state is expected to provide each of them with nearly $900,000 in compensation for their time in prison.
In interviews, Rayford and Glass discussed the events of the shooting, expressing gratitude for those who fought for their release. They have since focused on rebuilding their lives.
This case highlights the importance of diligent legal representation and the potential for wrongful convictions. The efforts of Della Donna, Mulrenin, and the UC Irvine School of Law students have resulted in the release of 13 individuals who were wrongly convicted.