Colorado man sentenced to 77 years in a robbery and kidnapping case released from prison after Innocence Project appeal

A man who was sentenced to 77 years in prison for kidnapping and robbery in Denver will be released from prison after concerns about the police work that led to his 2000 conviction were brought to District Attorney Beth McCann’s office.

Jason Hogan, now 43, was sentenced to time served in a new plea agreement that McCann offered to his attorneys at the Korey Wise Innocence Project at the University of Colorado. 

Hogan maintains that he never committed the crime but agreed to the offer so he could get out of prison now, said Anne-Marie Moyes, his attorney at the Innocence Project.

In March 2000, a woman had kids in the car at the Cherry Creek mall parking lot when a man approached her and, at gunpoint, told her to get in the car and drive him to a bank and get him some cash. He reportedly held his hand up to cover his face and he had tattoos on his hands and forearms, the woman said, but she told police she didn’t get a good look at his face. 

Still, Hogan was plucked out of a lineup later by the woman and a few other witnesses. He didn’t have any tattoos.

A couple of weeks later, another similar crime was committed in the Cherry Creek mall parking lot and although police suspected the two crimes were committed by the same person, they dusted the second car for fingerprints and DNA evidence, neither of which matched Hogan’s and they determined he didn’t commit that second, very similar, crime. 

That exculpatory evidence wasn’t presented during his trial, though, and he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to prison.

In 2015, Hogan applied for help through CU law school’s innocence project and in 2019, they accepted his case for review, Moyes said. They determined that the police investigating both robberies weren’t upfront about the exculpatory evidence that would have aided Hogan’s defense. There was no DNA from Hogan found on the first car.

Ultimately, Moyes applied for a resentencing through McCann’s Conviction Review Unit.

“It’s important work for district attorneys to review questionable convictions out of their office,” Moyes said. “The police had a duty to turn over the evidence against Mr Hogan and they failed to do that. And the district attorney is recognizing the seriousness of that by taking action.”

McCann’s office has reduced five people’s sentences since the launch of the Conviction Review Unit, a spokesperson said. There have been 45 sentence reduction applications received, 26 clemency requests and 42 actual innocence applications filed.

“We appreciate the Korey Wise Innocence Project bringing this case to our attention,” McCann said in a statement. “We were not able to conclude that Mr. Hogan did not commit this crime but given the fact that there was a subsequent very similar robbery and that information was not provided to us at that time so it could be disclosed to the defense counsel, we agreed that it was fair and in the interest of justice to resolve the case in this manner.” 

Hogan is expected to be released from prison in Cañon City on Tuesday. His family flew to Colorado from Arizona and Georgia to meet him, Moyes said.

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