Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Man cleared in rape cases sues city and police
A man who spent nearly 24 years in prison for two rapes he did not commit has sued the City of Milwaukee and several detectives he says framed him, as well the lawyers he says botched his defense.
It is just the latest in a string of cases against Milwaukee police over wrongful convictions that have cost the city millions of dollars.
Daryl Holloway, 51, was arrested in 1992 when Milwaukee police had vowed to halt a string of rapes on the east side. Despite a dearth of evidence, he was convicted in 1993 of two attacks, one against a mother in her home, the other of a college student in her apartment, and sentenced to 120 years in prison.
But with the help of lawyer Ray Dall’Osto and the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Holloway eventually won his freedom in 2016 after prosecutors found conflicting DNA reports from separate labs and little other evidence.
Holloway’s federal civil rights lawsuit, filed late last week, details the many ways his current attorney, Nate Cade, says the system failed Holloway.
Neither of the victims in the two cases, from September 1992, saw their assailant’s face, but both eventually picked Holloway out of lineups after the suit states police erred in how the identifications were made.
For example, investigators showed the victims photo arrays of potential suspects three times. Holloway was the only one from the last array to be included in the live lineup. In addition, the first victim picked Holloway from a lineup of other men of different heights and builds.
A knife used in the second assault was found outside the victim’s home. The victim said her assailant had not worn gloves. Holloway’s fingerprints were not found on the knife. A shoe print left in blood from the victim did not match either pair of Holloway’s shoes.
Although there was DNA collected at the crime scene, neither police, prosecutors nor Holloway’s trial attorney requested testing, the suit claims. An expert for the state testified that Holloway was not the source of either semen sample taken from blankets that were on the second victim’s bed at the time of the attack.
Phone records showed Holloway was on the other side of town during the time of the first rape.
Targeted over burglary
The suit also details the nearly random way Holloway became a suspect in the rapes. He was arrested in Shorewood for loitering, and his fingerprints matched those found on a music box, recovered in an alley, that had been taken in a burglary in Shorewood that month.
He told Shorewood police he had
seen the music box, picked it up to look at it, then discarded it. Police searched his home but didn’t find any of the other items taken in the burglary.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee police detective Michael Carlson was investigating the east side rapes and asked Shorewood police if they’d had any similar crimes.
“He somehow discovered that Holloway was a suspect in a burglary, and that was the basis for the Milwaukee Police Department warrant to arrest Holloway and search his home, and how he came to be in the September 30, 1992, lineup,” according to the suit.
The Shorewood burglary victim had seen the thief leaving her home. She did not pick Holloway from a lineup. The east side rapes continued after Holloway was arrested, but detectives kept their focus on him, his suit claims.
When Holloway went to trial on the rape charges nearly a year later, the case against him had not improved, according to his civil suit.
“The only evidence used to tie Holloway to the rapes were Holloway’s fingerprints on the music box, one victim’s claims that Holloway’s eyes looked similar and his voice. No other physical evidence, other than Holloway’s fingerprints on the music box, was produced to the jury.”
After his convictions, Holloway hired Gerald Boyle and Bridget Boyle for an appeal. By the late 1990s, they had requested DNA testing that excluded Holloway as a suspect and started discussions with prosecutors.
“Despite evidence that Holloway was not the suspect, the Boyles subsequently dropped Holloway’s post-conviction efforts because they continually demanded more money from Holloway and his family,” the suit claims.
Back in prison
According to his suit, Holloway struggled with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. In August 2017, he decided to commit suicide, and stole a gun he saw through an open window.
He put the gun in his mouth but never pulled the trigger, after hearing his mother pleading in his head not to do it.
But he was charged with burglary, theft and having a gun as a felon. He pleaded no contest last year and is serving a five-year prison term. Between the crime and his sentencing, his brother and an adult son were both killed violently.
Holloway’s suit names as defendants the City of Milwaukee, seven current or former detectives — Carlson, George Ellenberger, William Herold, Daniel Ruzinski, Gregory Nowakowski, Joseph Lagerman and William Stawicki — unnamed other police officials, the Boyles, trial attorney Michael Backes and the lawyers’ insurers.