"Dateline NBC" will feature the work of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), based out of the UC College of Law, in its Sunday evening program, set to begin locally at 7 p.m. on Cincinnati-affiliate WLWT-TV. In December of 2005, the OIP helped free Clarence Elkins after he had spent seven years in prison for a crime that DNA evidence helped prove he did not commit.
UC College of Law students volunteer to work for the OIP, under the direction of faculty director Mark Godsey. For two years, they worked on Elkins’ case, for which he was serving a life sentence in a 1998 murder/rape case in Barberton, Ohio.
Many of the efforts to free Elkins were documented by a film crew, which will help in telling the story of his long road to freedom. The central figure in Dateline NBC’s story will be his wife, Melinda, who worked tirelessly on Clarence’s behalf during the time he was in prison. She also helped get the OIP involved in working on Clarence’s case in 2003.
Since Clarence’s release, Melinda Elkins has relocated to southwest Ohio in the town of Eaton, and today, she continues to volunteer with the Ohio Innocence Project, because of the impact her experience had on her life.
The OIP is part of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project, which is based in the UC College of Law.