Prosecutor backs man believed innocent of 1986 sexual assault, February 8, 2015
By Frank Green
Michael Kenneth McAlister’s prison term ended last month.
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. Richmond
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
top prosecutor, who does not believe McAlister’s record should lead to
imprisonment or commitment as a violent sexual predator. Richmond
“We put the innocent guy in prison, and now we want to civilly commit him,” Michael N. Herring,
commonwealth’s attorney, said in an interview last week. Richmond
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
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
police detective who investigated the 1986 case, has long believed McAlister
was mistakenly convicted of the attack. Richmond
“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.