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Clarence Elkins and Molly Elkins


Clarence Elkins was wrongfully convicted of the 1998 rape and murder of his then mother-in-law, and the rape and assault of his then wife’s niece. Clarence was convicted to a life sentence despite having approximately 25 alibis and living an hour away.

With the help of his team of investigator’s and legal staff he was able to obtain a cigarette butt
from the true perpetrator, Earl Mann, that happened to be in the same prison block and mailed it to his legal
team to prove his own innocence. His family and The Ohio Innocence Project were very
instrumental in helping Clarence legally, financially, and emotionally.


Clarence now works as an advocate to halt wrongful convictions and was instrumental in getting Ohio to
pass Senate Bill 77, also known as Ohio's Innocence Protection Act. This bill contains provisions
requiring the police to follow best practices for eyewitness identifications, provides incentives
for the videotaping of interrogations, and requires that DNA be preserved in homicide and sexual
assault cases, among other things. Clarence spent countless hours pressing for what has been called the
"national model" of innocence reform bills, and the most important piece of criminal justice
legislation in Ohio in a century.


Clarence also engages in public speaking about his case and wrongful convictions in general at
universities and other locations across the United States.


In 2011, Clarence and his new wife Molly established the Clarence Elkins Scholarship at the University
of Cincinnati College of Law. This scholarship provides $5,000 annually to the Ohio Innocence
Project housed at UC Law School, and includes a scholarship to two students in the Ohio
Innocence Project each year.


Clarence enjoys life; he has 2 sons, 3 step-children and 4 grandchildren.


"You have an amazing story to tell and I know that

I will take it with me when I begin to practice law."

- Cody Nett

WVU College of Law Graduate 

Class of 2010

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