Homestead - South Dade

Lawyer: DNA exonerates South Miami-Dade man in kidnapping, rape case

Miguel Macias
Miguel Macias Miami-Dade Corrections

A South Miami-Dade man spent more than a month in jail before DNA exonerated him of kidnapping and raping a teen girl, his lawyer said Monday.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday is expected to drop felony charges against Miguel Macias, 21. He was released from jail late last week when the preliminary DNA results showed someone else was actually the attacker.

His attorney on Monday criticized Miami-Dade police and prosecutors, who filed formal charges against Macias without waiting for a DNA test to confirm the identity of the attacker, who left behind a biological sample.

“This nightmare can happen to anyone when a cop unlawfully arrests and a prosecutor chooses to file serious charges based on little more than a hunch,” lawyer Mark Eiglarsh said. “My client and I are committed to ensuring that people are held accountable and that lessons are learned so that this never again happens to another innocent person.”

A State Attorney’s spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the DNA results were indeed leading to the charges being dropped.

It was back in December that the 18-year-old girl reported that she met her attacker while hanging out with some friends behind a South Miami-Dade supermarket. The man insisted on giving her a ride, eventually parking outside a Redland nursery and raping her. During the attack, the girl “sustained scrapes and bruises” before he let her go, according to the arrest report by Miami-Dade Detective John Snuggs Jr.

The arrest report did not say how detectives came to identify Macias, who was not arrested until March 13. According to Eiglarsh, the girl claimed to have identified Macias only after finding his photo on Facebook after the attack.

When he was arrested, Macias swore innocence. “I don’t know who she is,” Macias wrote on a photo of the victim given to him by Miami-Dade police. He gave a voluntary DNA sample.

Prosecutors filed formal charges of sexual battery and kidnapping on April 22. Eiglarsh said he showed prosecutor Cristina Cabrera text messages showing that his client was with family on the day of the attack. “Airtight alibi,” Eiglarsh said.

But Macias was not released from jail until Friday — without having to post bail — after it became clear that the DNA sample at the crime scene did not match the accused man.