A man who was jailed for months for a crime he did not commit has filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati police accusing them of withholding DNA evidence that could have freed him.
Joshua Maxton, 28, had faced eight charges, including murder and felonious assault, for a June 2015 shooting in Avondale that killed 18-year-old Robin Pearl as she sat in a car. He was acquitted more than a year later after his defense team uncovered DNA evidence.
Maxton claimed in a lawsuit, filed against Detective Bill Hilbert, Sgt. Jeff Gramke and the City of Cincinnati, that police knew or should have known they had the wrong man, but allowed the case to go to trial anyway.
“The Cincinnati Police department and two of its officers buried evidence of his innocence and caused him to be held for months,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Maxton could be spending life in prison for a murder he did not commit.”
According to the lawsuit, the case against Maxton began to unravel soon after his arrest. The suit says several eyewitnesses came forward to identify another man as the shooter and, later, DNA evidence connected that other man to a soda can believed to have been handled by the gunman.
“All of this DNA evidence was suppressed by defendants. It was profoundly exculpatory, and defendants knew it,” the lawsuit states.
Though Maxton has been acquitted and released, no one else has been charged in Pearl’s murder.