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DNA evidence exonerates man falsely convicted of rape after 16 years in prison

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has vacated a 16-year prisoner's three rape convictions after DNA evidence linked the crimes to a serial rapist wanted for assaults dating back two decades.

Judge William Ryan ordered Luis Vargas released during a brief hearing Monday. His attorneys say they expect the release later in the day.

The California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law took Vargas' case in 2012 and found that DNA showed the crimes were actually committed by the so-called Teardrop Rapist, who is known for a tattoo of a teardrop under his eye.

Witnesses linked Vargas to the crime because he had a similar tattoo.

The Teardrop Rapist is linked by DNA to 11 crimes and suspected of 35 in total across the Los Angeles area.