Jury: Wrong man arrested, charged in Detroit 'blow torch rapist' case

Jury finds Roderick Neely not guilty on all charges connected to 'blow torch rapist' case

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - In January, Detroit police said Roderick Neely was the "blow torch rapist" who abducted, beat and burned his victim.

Neely's family believe he was railroaded.

"Thank the Lord ... because the jury got the truth," said his grandmother, Arcola Crooks.

The alleged victim said she escaped from Neely after stabbing him in the eye with a screwdriver. Neely wore an eye bandage when he was arrested but his grandmother said glass caused the eye injury four days before the assault.

"When he woke up that Saturday morning his eye was swollen so bad he couldn't see," she said.

The jury saw medical records. The woman identified Neely in a photo lineup and testified he abducted her at a gas station.

Defense attorney Craig Tank said the woman never appeared on the gas station security camera and DNA on her clothing did not match Neely's DNA.

"I've never had a circumstance where at the end of the trial the jurors that were on the trial approached the family of the defendant, gave them hugs and told them how deeply sorry they were that their loved one was in this situation," said Tank.

Neely wept as he listened to the words "not guilty" for every charge. He was being held without bond on charges including torture, unlawful imprisonment and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.

"It was so relieving, like I was crying so much. He got a daughter ... he's missed 6 months of her life. That's not even him. He would never do anything like that," said Neely's girlfriend, Tramaine Thomas.

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