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METAIRIE – A Jefferson Parish man who was convicted of armed robbery in 2003 is set to walk free after fingerprint evidence proved his innocence.

Royal E. Clark, Jr., has maintained his innocence for the past 16 years, and now Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick agrees.

“My office in conjunction with Sheriff Joseph Lopinto’s office and the Innocence Project New Orleans re-examined this case and agreed to fingerprint testing,” Connick said. “As District Attorney my obligation to seek justice does not end upon conviction. Rathey, my obligation is to continue to follow the evidence. When the evidence reveals an individual was wrongfully convicted, my office will take action to correct that injustice.”

Connick has ordered Clark’s immediate release.

After the Innocence Project approached the DA’s Office with questions about forensic advancement in fingerprint processing, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab was asked to determine whether fingerprints collected at the scene of the armed robbery could now be linked to a suspect.

An examination proved that the fingerprints could identify a suspect, and that suspect was not Clark.

The DA’s Office did not oppose Clark’s motion to vacate his conviction.