Was Clarence Spivey wrongfully convicted of rape 40 years ago?

‘The truth has to come out’
By JAMES ROBINSON  |  May 11, 2012

THE TRIAL TRANSCRIPT Spivey’s account of how the police arrested him was at odds with the official version; the pants he was wearing figured prominently in the trial. | >> READ the transcripts here <<


Melvin Spivey is driving his green Jeep through the same St. Joseph's Hospital parking lot that was the site of the crime 40 years ago. He pulls out and winds through the South Providence streets where he grew up and has spent his entire life. It is a different neighborhood these days, he says. Crack cocaine hit the streets in the 1980s and gangs moved in. There have been pockets of redevelopment, he says, but many of the houses still look close to falling apart. "What happened that night was very heinous for the time," he says. "There used to be more of a wholesomeness back then, but that has gone now."

The younger Spivey, a year junior to Clarence, drives a bus four days a week and helps look after his mother. A lot of people he grew up with aren't around anymore. Some died and some went to jail.

Spivey doesn't think his brother is guilty. Nothing rang true to him about the case, from the way Clarence was supposed to have acted during the abduction, to the weapons he was allegedly carrying.

"I can't believe Clarence would have dragged her across the parking lot like that. He didn't have a lot of heart. Any risk and he was out of there," he says.

Spivey's family is well acquainted with the criminal justice system. His younger brother served time with Clarence for a spell. His grandson had been arrested that morning, and last year he had another grandson convicted of homicide and sentenced to life in prison.

But he believes that Clarence is innocent.

"When I look into my heart I know that he didn't do it," Spivey explains. "I don't know if I could say that about many others.

"I just have to tell myself that at some point, the truth has to come out."

Meghan Foley contributed research to this article.

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