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FERRIER FILES: Man cleared of child rape by DNA; Parole board won't recognize it

FERRIER FILES

Randall Mills was a single father of two and learning to be a barber when he was accused and convicted of raping a 12-year-old neighbor.

"It's like your whole world is upside down," Mills said. "It just completely changes your whole life. You are in shock."

Mills spent 11 years in jail based on the testimony of a 12-year-old and a report that said he could be a DNA match.

His two sons suffered without their father. His son Dale, who worshipped his dad, killed himself while Randall was behind bars.

"You know when your 15-year-old son dies, and you're locked up. And I know if I was out he would not have done that," Mill said. "Well, time just stops. And that is what the state has done to me, ruined my life."

Years later, Mills wrote to the Innocence Project, and they took his case. In 2011, he was released when it was clear that he did not commit rape.

The DNA on the girl's underwear was from two other men, not Mills.

Mills was released, but the state put him on the sex offender registry.

"Pure hell. I'm a sex offender no one is going to give you a job like that," Mills said. "Never forget the hatred, the disgust, people looked at me like they hated me or wanted to kill me."

The Innocence Project wasn't satisfied. In 2014, Mills was completely cleared by the courts with all charges dropped. He immediately got a job and has since remarried.

Now, heavily involved in his son's life, his church life, and his life as a grandpa.

All that was left was for the Tennessee Parole Board to exonerate him. The final step in completely removing the stigma of a child rape he did not commit.

But the parole board not only said no, they denied him a hearing.

"You would think with DNA saying it's not him, it should be a no brainer, yet you get denied," Mills said. "Why?"

His lawyer Daniel Horwitz claims the Tennessee Parole Board is out of control and does not understand its function or role.

“The parole board seems to see itself as a super court that can second guess prosecutors, judges and the entire legal system. You would assume that with DNA completely exonerating Mr. Mills he would at least get a hearing. But when the parole determined he doesn’t even merit a hearing is impossible for me to explain,” said Horwitz.

Mills has needed people to help clear his name. Now, he needs one more person to step up, the governor of Tennessee.

"Please do the right thing," Mills said. "The courts found me innocent, just give me what I need. Sign that piece of paper saying I'm totally free!"

FOX 17 News asked the Tennessee Board of Parole why a DNA exoneration would not at least merit a hearing. We were told, "The board thoroughly reviewed Mr. Mills' file, determined that his case did not merit clemency, and therefore, did not grant him a formal hearing."

No further explanation was released.

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