‘Beginning of the next chapter;’ Man convicted in rapes, kidnappings declared wrongfully imprisoned

DAYTON — Over 30 years after he was convicted of crimes he didn’t commit, a Fairborn man who served time for rapes and kidnappings was declared a wrongfully imprisoned person by the State of Ohio.

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Dean Gillispie, now 56-years-old, was accused, tried, and convicted in the early 1990s for the rapes and kidnappings of three women in two attacks in Miami and Harrison townships. After he was indicted in 1990, he was convicted in a first trial in February 1991 and later convicted again in June 1991 after the court granted him a second trial.

Gillispie ended up serving 20 years in prison for the crimes before his release in December 2011. In 2011, he was released from prison after a federal court found the state withheld key evidence that would have led to his acquittal had it been presented to the juries in either of his two trials,” his attorney Michele Berry Godsey said.

But on Thursday, he was officially declared a wrongfully imprisoned person by the state, which is another step for Gillispie to receive financial compensation and fully clear his name, according to the Ohio Innocence Project.

“Thirty-one years. Thirty-one years of waiting for this. Absolutely had nothing to do with this. I lost 31 of the best years of my life to get here today. And it’s an overwhelming experience to be able to have them say the words that should have been said along time ago,” Gillispie told News Center 7′s John Bedell Thursday after the hearing.

After the hearing in Montgomery County court, Gillispie said he was overcome with emotion.

“From the beginning to the end. Everyone believed in me, knew that I didn’t do it. Some of them were with me when this supposedly happened,” he said.

“They knew I didn’t do this and they stuck with me like glue through the whole thing. When you’re accused of rape, kidnapping and armed robbery, people run from the hills to get away from you. Not in this case.”

When asked by Bedell what’s next for him Gillispie responded “get back to trying to survive.”

“I mean I look and feel great today, but every day is a struggle to survive. I don’t have nothing. The state took everything from me that I possibly had. And it’s just get back to surviving until this next chapter gets closed. This is just the beginning of the next chapter. Please, God don’t let it be 31 years,” he said.

But what will be next for Gillispie will be a civil lawsuit that he and his legal team can file against the State of Ohio for compensation related to loss of wages, legal fees, and other costs, Godsey said.

“It will be multi-million dollar lawsuit, yes,” she said.

Gillispie said the potential for additional financial compensation is a factor for the lawsuit, but no dollar amount will make him whole or bring back the last 31 years.

“It’s not enough. If they said $5 billion, nobody’s taking $5 billion for 31 years that they don’t know if they’re going to get out or not. Money is irrelevant at that part of it. It’s about showing that we were right,” he said.

Gillispie added that his family has been “buried” in debt fighting the legal battles over the decades.

“The money is just to help me survive. And to help my family. My family is buried in debt from this. Buried. Completely buried in the years that they shouldn’t be,” he said.

“The money’s very important but it’s not the leading factor for sure. Because money doesn’t fix me. It doesn’t fix the lost time. It doesn’t fix the mental anguish and the (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that I got from this. It doesn’t do a thing for it.”