Sex Offender gets 60 Years after Wrong Man Sentenced

A Houston man convicted of the sexual assault of an 8-year-old boy agreed to spend 60 years in prison after letting an innocent man spend six years behind bars for the crime.

Andrew Wayne Hawthorne, the defendant, is already serving a 60-year sentence for similar attacks, and will serve his new sentence concurrently.

The prosecutor in the case, John Jordan, believes Hawthorne took the plea agreement, which was the maximum sought by the prosecution, because he felt remorse for letting another man do time for his crime.

Chuck Hinton, Hawthorne’s criminal defense attorney, called it a “lousy plea bargain.”

The man originally convicted of the crime, Ricardo Rachell, was cleared on DNA last year, and was convicted mainly on eyewitness testimony from the victim and a friend.

Rachell maintained his innocence throughout his trial. He also urged the court to consider that similar offenses were occurring in the area during his trial, when he was in custody.

Harris County, Texas, District Attorney Pat Lykos has sent a letter to the Board of Pardons and Paroles requesting a pardon for Rachell. Rachell will be eligible for $300,000 in compensation for wrongful conviction from the state.

By serving his new sentence concurrently, Hawthorne, 55, extended his minimum sentence by only seven years, making him eligible for parole in 2039.