DNA Clears Man of Rape

After 25 Years in Prison

ATLANTA -- Robert Clark always said he was innocent in the 1981 kidnapping and rape of an Atlanta woman, and now DNA evidence has shown that another man committed the attack.

After spending nearly 25 years in prison for the crime -- during which time his mother died and his children grew up and now have families of their own -- a judge signed an order Thursday to set Clark free.

At the end of the 15-minute hearing, before Cobb County Superior Court Judge Dorothy A. Robinson, Peter J. Neufeld, an attorney for Clark and co-director of the Innocence Project, patted Clark on the back and said, "You're free to go, fella."

A smiling Clark hugged and kissed relatives. He repeatedly said, "I told you. I told you."

After the DNA tests showed Clark could not have been the attacker, further tests against state and federal DNA databases of convicts matched samples from Clark's friend, Floyd Antonio "Tony" Arnold. Cobb County prosecutors, who originally convicted Clark, are looking into whether to seek charges against Arnold, spokeswoman Kathy Watkins said.

* SACRAMENTO -- Lawyers for Stanley Tookie Williams took their case to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in a last-ditch effort to spare the founder of the Crips gang from execution. The closed-door meeting offered defense lawyers and prosecutors 30 minutes each to argue the fate of Williams, 51. The gangster-turned-peace-activist is scheduled to die Tuesday for murdering four people during two 1979 robberies.

* NEW YORK -- John Lennon fans tried to imagine what might have been. On the 25th anniversary of his murder, fans brought flowers, candles and their own bittersweet memories as they gathered in Central Park's Strawberry Fields -- and in the former Beatle's home town of Liverpool, England. Lennon was killed Dec. 8, 1980.

* ATLANTA -- Erroll B. Davis Jr., a first-generation college graduate and career energy executive, was named chancellor of Georgia's network of public colleges and universities. He is the first black leader to hold the position on a permanent basis.

* LOUISVILLE -- Sheriff's deputy Andy McDowell was forced to live a parent's worst nightmare twice in a matter of minutes. After he was taken to the site where one of his two sons was killed in a car crash, McDowell was driven past another fatal accident. Only later did he learn that the fiery wreck took the life of his only other child. Rory McDowell, 23, and Cory McDowell, 21, died within a couple of miles from the home they shared with their father in southern Kentucky's Warren County.

* PHILADELPHIA -- A federal appeals court has agreed to hear an appeal from death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, 51, the former Black Panther convicted in the 1981 murder of a white Philadelphia police officer. The appeals court said it will consider Abu-Jamal's assertions that prosecutors illegally removed blacks from the jury pool, that a prosecutor gave an improper summation to the jury and that the judge in a previous appeal was biased.

* MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Epsilon weakened over the Atlantic , perhaps bringing an end to the record-breaking hurricane season more than a week late.

-- From News Services

Yoko Ono places flowers at Central Park's Strawberry Fields in honor of her husband, John Lennon, on the 25th anniversary of the former Beatle's slaying outside their nearby Manhattan apartment building.