In the case of Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr and James Harden, DNA found inside the 14-year-old victim Catteresa Matthews was also retested, and a match was made to Willie Randolph, a 34-year-old convicted rapist, with 39 arrests.
Peter Neufeld says prosecutors rejected the DNA evidence and instead came up with an unusual theory to explain it all away.
Peter Neufeld: They suggest perhaps after the kids killed her this man wandered by and committed an act of necrophilia.
Byron Pitts: Necrophilia. A lot of our viewers won't know what that means.
Peter Neufeld: Having sex with a dead person.
Anita Alvarez: It's possible. We have seen cases like that.
Byron Pitts: Possible?
Anita Alvarez: It is. We've seen it in other cases.
Byron Pitts: It's possible that this convicted rapist, wandered past an open field, and had sex with a 14-year-old girl who was dead?
Anita Alvarez: Well, there's all kinds of possibilities out there, and what I'm saying is that I don't know what happened.
Bob Milan: People don't like to admit they made a mistake. But we need to do that. Our job as a prosecutor--isn't to win, our job is to get it right.
Former prosecutor Bob Milan says that prosecutors need to put the same sense of urgency into exonerations as they once did into prosecutions.
Bob Milan: When you have physical evidence, it doesn't lie. So when you have the DNA on a girl from some guy with a history of sexual attacks that pretty much tells you where you're going.
Byron Pitts: Not the people who gave the confessions?
Bob Milan: No.
By now 10 defense attorneys were focusing on the new DNA. Working with them was a third-year Northwestern Law School student named Katie Marie Zouhary. She was assigned to re-examine the original confessions and her research helped change the case.
Katie Marie Zouhary: I think when you look at a confession on a piece of paper, a court reported confession, a handwritten confession, it seems like all the pieces are in place.
Katie Marie Zouhary: But what you don't see is the 17-year-old in the room by himself with the police officers, what you don't see is that confession next to the other confessions. So you're able to see that these things don't match up. And it's not just a "one of these things is not like the others," it's "all of these things are not like the others."