Daily News

Jeffrey Pierce, 39, was convicted of rape in 1986 and lost his freedom and his family. Hismarriage ended in divorce and his wife left Oklahoma to raise their twin infant sons as if he didnot exist. He has maintained his innocence for 15 years and was freed because DNA testing refutedthe crucial testimony against him from an Oklahoma City police chemist long accused of shoddy workand now the focus of one of the most wide-ranging investigations into a police laboratory. Pierceleft prison this afternoon with his mother and brother, Gary, who fought for years to overturn theconviction. Today, a state judge, Susan P. Caswell, vacated his conviction and 65 year sentence.Now he will soon meet the two sons, now 15, whom he has only see through photographs since theywere infants.

The DNA test results that cleared him, as well as a separate review of his case by the FBI, setin motion the larger inquiry into the chemist, Joyce Gilchrist. Last week, the federal JusticeDepartment began an investigation while Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma ordered a review intoevery felony conviction linked to Gilchrist to make certain that no one else has been wronglyconvicted. Gilchrist, the embattled police chemist was fired yesterday for allegedly performingshoddy work and giving false or misleading testimony in criminal cases, including some in which shehelped send men to Death Row. She faces allegations in an undetermined number of criminalcases.

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)