Sunday, February 8, 2015

Michael Kenneth McAlister Believed to be Innocent of a 1986 Abduction and Attempted Rape, Just Released From Prison Now Faces Possible Indefinite Confinement as a Violent Sexual Predator in Burkeville Virginia

Prosecutor backs man believed innocent of 1986 sexual assault, February 8, 2015
By Frank Green

Michael Kenneth McAlister’s prison term ended last month. 

But this Richmond man, who some former investigators believe is innocent of a 1986 abduction and attempted rape, now faces possible indefinite confinement as a violent sexual predator. 

McAlister’s saga will take a new turn March 3 at a hearing scheduled for Richmond Circuit Court that could see him serving additional decades, if not the rest of his life, inside the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Burkeville. 

That doesn’t sit well with Richmond’s top prosecutor, who does not believe McAlister’s record should lead to imprisonment or commitment as a violent sexual predator. 

“We put the innocent guy in prison, and now we want to civilly commit him,” Michael N. Herring, Richmond commonwealth’s attorney, said in an interview last week. 

If efforts to force McAlister into the state’s sex offender treatment facility proceed, Herring said he will tell the court that he believes McAlister did not abduct and attempt to rape a young woman in South Richmond 29 years ago — the crimes that make him eligible for further commitment after his sentence has ended. 

In addition, Herring said he will work with McAlister’s lawyers to try to clear his record of the 1986 crimes. 

“I’m going to sit down with the governor’s office and sit down with the attorney general’s office — whatever it takes,” Herring said. 

C.M. Martin, a retired Richmond police detective who investigated the 1986 case, has long believed McAlister was mistakenly convicted of the attack. 

“I have no reservations at all. He didn’t do it,” Martin said. 

But exactly what can be done is not clear, and the clock is ticking.