Roger Dean Gillispie was  under electronic detention at his parent’s home in Fairborn when this photo was taken.  He was released  from prison n 2011 after  20 years. Gillispie had a Rip Van Winkle experience, having his life dramatically altered for two decades, and then arriving home before Christmas in a neighborhood he could only picture in his dreams. Gillispie served his time in Ohio prisons, not some deserted island, but life outside prison is very different today than 20 years ago. Staff Photo by Jim Witmer
Photo: Columbus Bureau
Photo: Columbus Bureau

“Almost civilized to barbaric,” Roger “Dean” Gillispie on 20 years in prison for rapes and kidnappings he did not commit

Few could blame Roger “Dean” Gillispie if he were angry.

He was in prison 20 years for raping and kidnapping three women in the Dayton area despite no physical evidence of his guilt. 

That means Gillispie spent his 20s, 30s and most of his 40s “sleeping with one eye open” and defending himself in some of the Ohio’s toughest prisons. 

>> From the archive: Gillispie case illustrates imperfect justice system

Exonerated with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project, Gillispie now lives in his childhood bedroom. He never married and has no children. The dreams he was working towards as young man never materialized. 

Despite it all, Gillispie says he is not wallowing in the past. 

Instead, he is spreading awareness of wrongful convictions and the need for prison reform. 

He told “What Had Happened Was” host Amelia Robinson how the legal battle and his long stint in prison impacted his life and the lives of his family members. 

>> From the archive: Court rules Fairborn man cannot be re-tried in 1988 case

The Dayton area was hit 15 tornadoes on Memorial Day.

Want to help the community recover? The Dayton Foundation’s Tornado Relief Fund (daytonfoundation.org) and The Foodbank (thefoodbankdayton.org) are accepting financial donations.

ABOUT THE PODCAST

“What Had Happened Was” is a podcast for Dayton, powered by Dayton.com. You won't believe the stories that come from right here. Host Amelia Robinson shares the best tales from the Gem City, Land of Funk and Birthplace of Aviation: Dayton, Ohio. 

This podcast is brought to you by Cox Digital Marketing

WHERE TO LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE 

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